Joran van der Sloot confesses to killing Stephany Flores in Peru
Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, long the prime suspect in U.S. teen Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance in Aruba, has confessed to killing a young woman in his Lima hotel room last week, a police spokesman said.
Police Col. Abel Gamarra, head of the Information Directorate of Police, told The Associated Press late Monday that van der Sloot admitted under questioning by police that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores.
Gamarra said the case will be turned over to prosecutors who will present formal charges against van der Sloot. The National Prison Institute will determine which prison he will be held in while awaiting trial.
Police planned to take van der Sloot to the hotel on Tuesday to participate in a reconstruction of the events leading to Flores' slaying, Gamarra said.
Gamarra did not provide further details about the confession.
Reports of the confession come as Holloway's mother, Beth, prepares to open the Natalee Holloway Resource Center tonight in Washington, D.C. Families of missing persons will be able get help managing their crisis, and high school and college students can get advice for traveling safely through the center.
A Peruvian television station, Channel 4, said it had obtained details about van der Sloot's confession in which he reportedly told police that he killed Flores because he got angry when he found out that she had looked up information about his past on his laptop.
Flores, a university student studying business administration, was found beaten to death in the hotel room where the Dutchman had stayed while participating in a poker tournament. Flores is thought to have met van der Sloot at the casino.
She was last seen alive on a hotel video the night of May 30 entering van der Sloot's room. The Dutchman is seen on the video leaving the room several hours later with his baggage and walking out of the hotel.
Police said he took a bus to Chile, where he was captured several days later and returned to Peru.
Van der Sloot has long been considered the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Holloway on the Caribbean resort island of Aruba. He was arrested twice, but freed both times for lack of evidence.
CNN reported that the legal system in Peru often issues lighter sentences to suspects who confess. There is no death penalty or life sentence in Peru.
MSNBC said, according to La Republica newspaper, van der Sloot "said that his anger exploded and he broke Stephany Flores' neck after she grabbed his laptop without his permission, and found out that he was involved in the disappearance of an American woman."
The paper quoted van der Sloot as saying, "I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life."
Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, then 18, on the Caribbean resort island of Aruba while she was celebrating her high school graduation.
He was arrested twice in the case -- and gave a number of conflicting confessions, some in TV interviews -- but was freed for lack of evidence.
A fixture on true crime shows and in tabloids after Holloway's disappearance, he gained a reputation for lying -- even admitting a penchant for it -- and also exhibited a volatile temper. In one Dutch television interview he threw a glass of wine in a reporter's eyes. In another, he smashed a glass of water against a wall in a fury.
The 6-foot-3 Van der Sloot had been held at Peruvian criminal police headquarters since arriving Saturday in a police convoy from Chile, where he was captured on Thursday.
He had crossed into Chile on Monday, nearly a day after leaving the Lima hotel -- five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance.
Flores' battered body was found on the floor in the room more than two days later. Lima's deputy medical investigator, Victor Tejada, told the AP on Monday that she was killed by blows with a blunt object, probably the tennis racket found in the hotel room.
Guardia told the AP her body was found face down and clothed with no indication of sexual assault.
In video taken of the Dutchman that was broadcast Sunday by a TV channel, Peruvian police were seen searching van der Sloot's belongings in his presence. They were shown pulling out of his backpack a laptop, a business-card holder and 15 bills in foreign currency.
Chilean police who questioned van der Sloot on Thursday said he declared himself innocent of the Lima slaying but acknowledged knowing Flores.
Van der Sloot was represented by a state-appointed lawyer during Saturday's questioning and both a Dutch Embassy official and his U.S.-based attorney told the AP on Sunday that he was seeking to hire his own counsel.
The suspect's father, a former judge and attorney on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, died in February. Van der Sloot has two brothers.
There were indications van der Sloot may have been traveling on money gained through extortion.
The day of his arrest in Chile, van der Sloot was charged in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's family in exchange for disclosing the location of her body and describing how she died.
U.S. prosecutors say $15,000 was transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name on May 10. He arrived in Peru four days later, his visit coinciding with the runup to a June 2-5 Latin America Poker Tour tournament with a $930,000 prize pool.
Tournament organizers said Van der Sloot did not sign up to participate in the event.
Van der Sloot is an avid gambler and was known in Aruba to frequent its casino hotels, one of which was lodging Holloway.
In a lengthy 2006 interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Van der Sloot described drinking shots of rum with Holloway, whom he said he met while playing poker at an Aruba casino, then taking her to a beach and leaving her there around 3:30 a.m.
Two years later, a Dutch television crime reporter captured hidden-camera footage of Van der Sloot saying that after Holloway, drunk, collapsed on the beach while the two were kissing he asked a friend to dump her body in the sea.
"I would never murder a girl," he said.
That interview prompted authorities in Aruba to reopen the case, but Van der Sloot later said he made up the whole story and he was not charged.
The crime reporter, Peter de Vries -- the victim of the wine-throwing incident -- reported later in 2008 that Van der Sloot was recruiting Thai women in Bangkok for sex work in the Netherlands.
(Associated Press writers Franklin Briceno, Carla Salazar, Frank Bajak and Arthur Max in Amsterdam contributed to this report.)