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What to know about the Natalee Holloway case as Joran van der Sloot faces extradition

Joran van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S.
Joran van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S. to face extortion charges 02:17

The possible extradition of Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, has placed the mystery surrounding the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba in 2005 back in the spotlight.

Peru's government announced Wednesday that authorities issued an order allowing van der Sloot, who has been serving a 28-year prison sentence in the country, to be temporarily extradited to the U.S. to face federal charges stemming from an alleged plot to extort money from Holloway's mother.

Van der Sloot's attorney Maximo Altez told The Associated Press he plans to fight the order.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment to CBS News on the extradition announcement. A State Department spokesperson referred CBS News' questions to the Justice Department.

Who was Natalee Holloway?

Holloway was last seen alive nearly 18 years ago in the Caribbean island nation of Aruba. The 18-year-old from Mountain Brook, Alabama, just outside Birmingham, was celebrating her graduation from Mountain Brook High School, where she was an honor student, CBS News' "48 Hours" reported in 2006.

Natalee Holloway
Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a trip to Aruba in May 2005. Personal photo

Holloway went on the trip with three of her best friends, Liz Cain, Mallie Tucker and Claire Fierman.

"It was so much fun. We would wake up, go like, brush your teeth, go straight to the beach. We would literally stay in the water all day long because it was so perfect," Fierman told "48 Hours." "We just hung out with our friends on this beautiful island. It was a really fun trip."

When did Natalee Holloway go missing?

On May 30, 2005, the last night of the trip, the group went to Carlos'n Charlie's, a local nightspot, Cain told "48 Hours." The legal minimum drinking age in Aruba is 18.

That night, Holloway was seen getting into a car with three strangers, which surprised Holloway's friends and her mother, Beth Holloway.

"No way would she have left her friends and placed herself knowingly what she was getting into," Holloway's mother told "48 Hours" in 2006. "They just took her when she just … There's no way."

Who is Joran van der Sloot?

Among the strangers was van der Sloot, who was 17 at the time. A citizen of the Netherlands, van der Sloot was taken into custody 10 days after Holloway's disappearance and was held for months.

"It's mind-boggling to us that a 17-year-old, if he would have done it, could not have been broken. It's incredible," Aruban lawyer Arlene Shipper, who at the time often spoke on behalf of the country's government, told "48 Hours" in 2006.

Dutch national Joran van der Sloot arrives for a hearing at the Lurigancho prison in Lima, Peru, on January 11, 2011.
Dutch national Joran van der Sloot arrives for a hearing at the Lurigancho prison in Lima, Peru, on January 11, 2011. Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images

At the time, van der Sloot denied any wrongdoing in Holloway's disappearance and no charges were filed against him. He was released to his parents on Sept. 3, 2005.

The case drew widespread attention in the U.S. and has been cited as an example of the news media's fascination with missing White women. According to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, van der Sloot has given conflicting confessions in the case over the years. In 2016, Holloway's father, Dave Holloway, told the Huffington Post the latest alleged confession at the time wasn't valid in Aruba unless it was in a signed statement.

Were Natalee Holloway's remains ever found?

Holloway was legally declared dead in 2012. Her remains haven't been found.

In 2010, van der Sloot allegedly offered to reveal the location of her body to Beth Holloway for $250,000, according to the Justice Department.

A federal grand jury indicted him on charges of extortion and wire fraud over the alleged scheme.

According to the indictment, van der Sloot allegedly offered to show Beth Holloway's lawyer where her daughter's remains were located and provide "specific details concerning the manner of her death" for an initial payment of $25,000. Van der Sloot would then be sent the remaining $225,000 through a wire transfer within 30 days after the remains were confirmed to be Holloway's.

Prosecutors alleged that van der Sloot confirmed in an email that the information he provided was "worthless" and kept the initial $25,000 payment.

Why could Joran van der Sloot be extradited to the U.S.?

Van der Sloot has been serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru since he pleaded guilty in 2012 to killing 21-year-old college student Stephany Flores in Lima in 2010.

The Peruvian attorney general's office said in a statement to CBS News on Wednesday that van der Sloot would be temporarily extradited to the U.S. for prosecution and would return to Peru following the proceedings.

Peru's government said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday that extraditions are approved by the country's president, Dina Boluarte, who assumed office in December after a coup by the country's former leader.

"We hope that this action will enable a process that will help to bring peace to Mrs. Holloway and to her family, who are grieving in the same way that the Flores family in Peru is grieving for the loss of their daughter, Stephany," Peru's Ambassador to the U.S. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra said in the statement.

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