World

Dutchman confesses in Peru murder: police

Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, long the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a U.S. teen in Aruba, has confessed to killing a young Peruvian woman in his Lima hotel room last week, a police spokesman said.

Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, long the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a U.S. teen in Aruba, has confessed to killing a young Peruvian woman in his Lima hotel room last week, a police spokesman said.

In a June 4, 2010, file photo, Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot is escorted by police officers outside a Peruvian police station, near the border with Chile in Tacna, Peru. Peruvian police said Tuesday that van der Sloot has confessed to killing a young woman in his Lima hotel room last week. (Karel Navarro/Associated Press))
Peru's chief police spokesman, Col. Abel Gamarra, told The Associated Press that van der Sloot admitted under police questioning Monday that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores on May 30.

The broadcaster America Television reported that van der Sloot killed Flores in a rage after learning she had looked up information about his past on his laptop. The broadcaster said it had access to details of the confession but did not cite its source.

Gamarra would not provide details of the confession. Nor would the chief of Peru's criminal police, Gen. Cesar Guardia, when the AP reached him by telephone. Guardia said only police director Gen. Miguel Hidalgo could authorize the information to be divulged. Hidalgo's cellphone rang unanswered.

Asked about the van der Sloot confession, a brother of the victim, Enrique Flores, told the AP "we are not going to make any comment. This is in the hands of the police, of the justice system."

Van der Sloot's confession came on his third full day in Peruvian police custody, on the eve of a planned trip to the hotel in which he was to participate in a reconstruction of the events leading to Flores's slaying, Gamarra said.

Flores, a business student, was found beaten to death, her neck broken, in the 22-year-old Dutchman's hotel room. Police said the two met playing poker at a casino.

Police released video on Saturday from hotel security cameras that shows the two entering van der Sloot's hotel room together at 5 a.m. Saturday and van der Sloot leaving alone four hours later with his bags. Police say van der Sloot left the hotel briefly at 8:10 a.m., returning to the room with two cups of coffee and bread purchased across the street at a supermarket.

Gamarra said the case would now be turned over to prosecutors to present formal charges and van der Sloot will be assigned to a prison while he awaits trial. Murder convictions carry a maximum of 35 years in prison in Peru and it was not immediately clear if a confession could lead to a reduced sentence.

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 due to 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.