Cops hold dead girl’s friend
LIMA – A Dutch man long suspected in the disappearance of an Alabama teen in Aruba was arrested yesterday in the murder of a young woman in Peru.
Stephany Flores, 21, was killed in a Lima hotel Sunday, five years to the day after Natalee Holloway disappeared.
The suspect, Joran van der Sloot, was escorted by three police officers from a dark vehicle into a police office in downtown Santiago, Chile.
He made no comment as he entered, walking calmly and without handcuffs as journalists shouted his name.
Van der Sloot was detained while travelling in a taxi, about halfway to the coast on Route 68, said Prefect Alfredo Espinosa, chief national spokesman for Chile’s investigative police.
In Lima, police General Cesar Guardia said Flores, who had been seen with the suspect early Sunday, was found Wednesday lying face down on the floor of van der Sloot’s hotel room. Her neck was broken, and she was fully clothed, with no signs of having been sexually abused.
Flores was killed exactly five years after the May 30, 2005, disappearance of Holloway during a high school trip in Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island where van der Sloot’s late father was a prominent judge.
Prosecutors said van der Sloot was still their main suspect in the case even though he was never charged.
Guardia said the 22-year-old Dutchman was in Peru for a poker tournament and appears with the dead woman in a video taken at a Lima casino early Sunday. The two were later seen entering the hotel by one of its employees about 5 a.m. and the Dutchman departed alone about four hours later, he said.
The victim’s father, Ricardo Flores, 48, is a former president of the Peruvian Automobile Club who won the Caminos del Inca rally in 1991 and brings circuses and foreign entertainers to Peru. He ran for vice-president in 2001 and for president five years later on fringe tickets.
Van der Sloot was twice arrested but later released for lack of evidence in the 2005 disappearance of Holloway in Aruba. (AP)