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Joran van der Sloot, prime suspect in Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance, pleads not guilty to extortion charges

Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, pleaded not guilty on Friday to extortion and fraud charges in a Birmingham courtroom, CBS affiliate WIAT reports.

Van der Sloot, a Dutch national, was flown to Birmingham from Peru on Thursday where he is serving a 28-year sentence for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. He confessed to killing Flores, exactly five years after Holloway's disappearance, in his hotel room in Lima. The daughter of the wealthy Peruvian businessman Ricardo Flores was found stabbed, lying in a pool of blood.

Joran van der Sloot is seen being transferred in a police car from a jail in Lima, Peru, June 8, 2023.
Joran van der Sloot is seen being transferred in a police car from a jail in Lima, Peru, on June 8, 2023. Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. prosecutors say that more than a decade ago, van der Sloot reached attempted to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, to disclose the location of the young woman's body. A grand jury indicted him in 2010.  

Van der Sloot is not charged with killing Holloway, who was declared dead several years ago. The 18-year-old disappeared during a high school graduation trip in Aruba.  She was last seen leaving a bar with three men on May 30, 2005, hours before she was scheduled to board a plane home. In the years that followed, her case garnered international attention mostly due to the dogged determination of her mother

In a statement released by his attorneys on Friday, Natalee's father, Dave Holloway  said, "While filled with mixed emotions, I am confident that today was an important step toward accountability and hopefully, justice. These particular charges do not  involve me directly, but I am trusting that this prosecution will lead us to the truth about Natalee."

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