Is Joran van der Sloot a Serial Killer? Ex-FBI Agent Paul Lindsay Responds

Peruvian officials say Joran van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the death of 21-year-old Stephanie Tatiana Flores Ramirez in a Lima hotel. Police say the slain woman's body was found on June 2, 2010 in a room at a hotel where van der Sloot had been staying.
AP Photo
Joran van der Sloot Mug Shot
Joran van der Sloot (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (CBS) When media reports connected Natalee Holloway suspect Joran van der Sloot to the murder of Stephany Flores, many wondered if the full extent of van der Sloot's crimes was even suspected.

Is Joran van der Sloot a serial killer?

PICTURES: Joran van der Sloot
PICTURES: Stephany Flores

Crimesider spoke with ex-FBI agent Paul Lindsay, who worked for many years following, investigating and profiling serial killers like the Green River Killer and the Highland Park Strangler. He says that van der Sloot shows all the markers of a sociopath - but that doesn't make him a serial killer.

While there are some similarities between Stephany's murder and those committed by serial killers Lindsay has investigated, he says he believes it is highly unlikely that there could be undiscovered victims.

While, he says, "Manual strangulation is popular with serials because it gives them control over their victims," Stephany was all but killed "in front of witnesses," and left where she was easily found. Serial killers usually develop a signature, Lindsay says, so if van der Sloot were responsible for numerous deaths, the public would likely be aware of them.

Joran van der Sloot (AP)

But why then, if he killed Natalee Holloway, did he cover it up? Although Lindsay says he can't speculate on Natalee's case because so little is known about what happened to her, he did say that a serial killer's "first kill" is often very different from those that follow.

PICTURES: Joran van der Sloot
PICTURES: Stephany Flores

But Lindsay does see a lot of sociopathic tendencies in the way van der Sloot has conducted himself in the media since Natalee's disappearance.

Sociopaths typically don't conform to society's rules of right and wrong because they are unable to pick up on social cues, Lindsay says.

"What looks like arrogance is more likely a sign of ignorance to stressful situations," Lindsay says, speaking of the multiple "confessions" van der Sloot has made. "When he says 'if I did kill [Natalee] it's no big deal'," it's not arrogance it's indifference.

Van der Sloot's reported confession to the murder of Stephany Flores, or at least the part where he tried to explain his actions, also provides evidence of sociopathy, according to Lindsay. Van der Sloot reportedly told police he lashed out at Stephany after she used his laptop to find out information about him, and learned of his connection to the Natalee Holloway disappearance.

"Why would he care if she knew about his connection to the [Holloway] case?" Lindsay asks, pointing out that it would be very hard to find someone who didn't know the connection.

Lindsay believes that if reports of van der Sloot's confession are accurate, van der Sloot created the story of the e-mail and the confrontation to justify his actions. Many sociopaths get their social cues by watching television and mimicking what they see others do.

According to Lindsay, van der Sloot might not need a reason to kill, but may recognize that others need to believe there was a reason.

Complete Coverage of Joran van der Sloot on Crimesider