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Joran van der Sloot, suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance, on plane en route to US

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(NEW YORK) — Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, is en route to the United States to face extortion and wire fraud charges, according to Peruvian Interpol.

The Dutch citizen was handed over to the FBI on Thursday morning in Peru, where he had been serving a 28-year sentence for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores.

Van der Sloot’s plane took off for the U.S. around 8:15 a.m. local time from a military base in Lima.

In the U.S., van der Sloot faces federal extortion and wire fraud charges stemming from an accusation that he tried to profit from his connection to the Holloway case.

Holloway, 18, went missing in May 2005 on a high school graduation trip in Aruba. She was last seen with a group of young men, including van der Sloot, then 17.

Van der Sloot, who was detained as a suspect in Holloway’s disappearance and later released, was indicted by an Alabama federal grand jury in 2010 for allegedly trying to extort Holloway’s family.

Federal prosecutors alleged that in March 2010 van der Sloot contacted Holloway’s mom, Beth Holloway, through her lawyer and claimed he would reveal the location of the teen’s body in exchange for $250,000, with $25,000 paid upfront. During a recorded sting operation, Beth Holloway’s attorney, John Q. Kelly, met with van der Sloot at an Aruba hotel, giving him $10,000 in cash as Beth Holloway wired $15,000 to van der Sloot’s bank account, according to prosecutors.

Then, van der Sloot allegedly changed his story about the night he was with Natalee Holloway, prosecutors said. Van der Sloot claimed he had picked Natalee Holloway up, but she demanded to be put down, so he threw her to the ground. Van der Sloot said her head hit a rock and he claimed she died instantly from the impact, according to prosecutors.

Van der Sloot then took Kelly to a house and claimed that his father, who had since died, buried Natalee Holloway in the building’s foundation, prosecutors said.

Kelly later emailed van der Sloot, saying the information he had provided was “worthless,” according to prosecutors. Within days, van der Sloot left Aruba for Peru.

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