Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lemming Tracks: Joran van der Sloot, and an Oopsie in Peru

"Victim in Peru found link between van der Sloot, Holloway, source says"
CNN (June 8, 2010)

"The Peruvian woman who died in Joran van der Sloot's hotel room was killed after she discovered information on his laptop linking him to the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

"Van der Sloot, the longtime suspect in the Holloway case, confessed Monday night to the killing of Stephany Flores Ramirez, 21, whose body was found in a hotel room last week, Peruvian authorities said.

"He could be formally charged as early as Wednesday, the authorities said.

"Van der Sloot was interrogated for seven hours Monday, the source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

"The Dutch citizen told investigators that he left the hotel room to buy bread and coffee at a gas station next to the hotel, the source said...."

For the sake of the families and friends of Stephany Flores Ramirez and Natalee Holloway, I hope that Peru is able to resist pressure from Dutch authorities and the young van der Sloot's father: and determine whether or not Joran van der Sloot killed at least two young women - or is among the unluckiest men in recent history.

I think it's possible - remotely - that van der Sloot the younger has been incredibly unlucky, and a little crazy to boot.

I don't, in a way, blame the Aruban authorities for antics worthy of a Marx Brothers movie. Their little island nation, an "autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands," depends heavily on tourism. A young American woman disappearing had the potential for really bad publicity. Particularly when it looked like the son of one of their bigwigs had killed - or sold - her.

It's possible that at least of few of the fellows in charge breathed a sigh of relief when somebody fingered a couple of black guys. Who, as it turned out, had airtight alibis.

Credit where credit is due, though. When the black men couldn't be used as fall guys, Aruban authorities and their friends in the Netherlands did a creditable job of passing Joran van der Sloot, the son of an Aurban official, from office to office before finally deciding that he shouldn't be charged.

I'm sure that the protocol was impeccable. Both times.

And I'd be more willing to believe that the young van der Sloot was falsely accused, if he didn't keep making such idiotically self-incriminating statements. (November 25, 2008) If he's not a stupid rich kid who's gotten used to his daddy bailing him out of embarrassing situations: he's been doing a wonderful job of imitating one.

Oops: Peru Isn't Aruba

From the looks of it, Joran van der Sloot may have had a perfectly reasonable motive for killing Stephany Flores Ramirez. "Reasonable," not "good." Back to that CNN article:

"...Upon his return, he found Flores going through his laptop, where she found something linking him to the disappearance of Holloway, the source said.

"At that point, Flores wanted to leave, and the pair started arguing, according to the source...."

And she winds up half-undressed - and completely dead.

In Peru.

Which is not Aruba.

Peruvians, apparently, have little to no respect for the preferences of Aruban officials. They're holding Joran van der Sloot - and may very well try him for murder. Providing that the Dutch government doesn't get him off the hook again.

Which Dutch media is already trying to do, apparently:

"Dutch concern over van der Sloot 'show trial' "
CNN (June 8, 2010)

"Dutch media expressed concern Tuesday about the prospects of Joran van der Sloot getting a fair trial following his arrest in Peru over the death of a 21-year-old woman.

"Peruvian authorities say that Van der Sloot has already confessed to killing Stephany Flores Ramirez and could be charged on Tuesday. If convicted of murder he could face up to 35 years in jail.

"The case has attracted international attention because van der Sloot was twice arrested and released in connection with the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005....

I can't help but think that Joran van der Sloot would be safe if he'd stayed in Aruba, where the authorities were more, ah, understanding.

Related post:Background on Aruba:
  • "Aruba"
    World Factbook, CIA, (last updated May 27, 2010)

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