|Published:||Jun 03, 2010 10:38 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 03, 2010 7:38 AM EDT|
LIMA, Peru (AP) - Police in neighboring Chile are checking
hotels for a young Dutchman long suspected in the 2005
disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway who is now being sought
in the killing of a woman in Peru.
After Peruvian officials announced Wednesday that Joran van der
Sloot is the prime suspect in the death of 21-year-old Stephany
Flores in a Lima hotel, Chilean police confirmed he had entered
their country two days earlier.
Chilean Police Inspector Douglas Rodriguez in Arica told The
Associated Press there was no record of van der Sloot leaving Chile
and authorities were searching the country's dry, sparsely
populated northern provinces for him.
In Lima, police Gen. Cesar Guardia said at a news conference
that the slain woman was found Wednesday in a room at a hotel where
van der Sloot had been staying and that she had been seen with the
suspect early Sunday, when she was killed.
The killing occurred exactly five years after the May 30, 2005,
disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee 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 is still their main suspect in
the case even though he was never charged.
The Dutch government said Interpol issued an international
arrest warrant for van der Sloot in the Peru killing. But
Rodriguez, the Chilean police official, said authorities there had
received only a request to locate the suspect, not an arrest
Guardia, the Peruvian police general, 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
"We have an interview with a worker at the hotel who says she
saw this foreigner with the victim enter his room," said Guardia.
The woman's body was found face down on the hotel room floor
Wednesday, abrasions on her face and body, and signs of trauma,
Guardia said. He said she was clothed.
Asked if she had been asphyxiated, Guardia said he was waiting
for autopsy results on the cause of death.
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.
A lawyer for van der Sloot in New York, Joe Tacopina, said he
did not know his client's whereabouts and had not been in touch
with him since the Peru allegations emerged.
Tacopina cautioned against a rush to judgment.
"Joran van der Sloot has been falsely accused of murder once
before. The fact is he wears a bull's-eye on his back now and he is
a quote-unquote usual suspect when it comes to allegations of foul
play," Tacopina said.
Van der Sloot was twice arrested but later released for lack of
evidence in the 2005 disappearance of Holloway in Aruba.
No trace of her has been found and van der Sloot remains the
main suspect in the case, Ann Angela, spokeswoman for the Aruba
prosecutor's office, said Wednesday.
"What's happening now is incredible," she said. "At this
moment we don't have anything to do with it, but we are following
the case with great interest and if Peruvian authorities would need
us, we are here."
The mystery of Holloway's disappearance garnered wide attention
on television and in newspapers in Europe and the United States.
Two years ago, a Dutch television crime reporter captured
hidden-camera footage of van der Sloot saying he was with Holloway
when she collapsed on a beach from being drunk. He said he believed
she was dead and asked a friend to dump her body in the sea.
Judges subsequently refused to arrest van der Sloot on the basis
of the tape.
A spokeswoman for Holloway's mother, Beth Twitty of Mountain
Brook, Alabama, told the AP the family was aware of the development
in Peru but would have no comment.
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