(CNN) – Joran van der Sloot, one of the last people to see American Natalee Holloway alive in Aruba in 2005 before she disappeared, will be extradited to the United States, according to a family statement made public on Wednesday. has been obtained by CNN.
“In May 2005, my 18-year-old daughter Natalee Holloway left Birmingham for Aruba for her high school graduation trip and was never seen again,” mother Beth Holloway said in the statement.
Holloway was last seen in the early morning hours of May 30, 2005, leaving a nightclub in Aruba with van der Sloot and two other men. No one was charged in her disappearance, CNN previously updated, and her body has never been found.
In 2012, an Alabama judge made an order declaring Holloway legally dead.
Natalee Holloway in her senior year portrait from the Mountain Brook High School yearbook. She disappeared in Aruba in 2005. (Credit: Mountain Brook High School/Holloway Family)
“I have been blessed to have Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years,” the statement read. “Now I am 36 years old. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many will pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”
Van der Sloot, a citizen of the Netherlands, was indicted in the United States on federal racketeering and wire fraud charges. In 2012, he was convicted in Peru of the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores in her Lima hotel room, and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Conflicting reports on the alleged stabbing of Joran Van Der Sloot in Peru (2014)
Peru – which has an extradition treaty with the US – had previously agreed to extradite van der Sloot, but only after he finished serving a sentence for murder, the Peruvian news agency Andina reported, meaning that after If time served is taken into account, US authorities will potentially have to wait until 2038.
Daniel Maurate Romero, Peru’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, said in a statement Wednesday that the Peruvian government “decided to accede to the request for temporary surrender made by the US authorities” of van der Sloot.
In a telephone conversation with CNN on Wednesday night, the CEO of Patriot Strategies, George Seymore, the firm that represents the Holloway family, said that van der Sloot has not yet returned to the United States and that the process is expected to starts this thursday.
Beth Holloway said in the statement: “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the President of Peru, Dina Boluarte; the warm people of Peru, the family of Stephany Flores, the FBI in Miami, Florida, and in Birmingham, Alabama, the US Attorney’s office in Birmingham, the US Embassy in Peru and the Peruvian embassy in the US, my longtime attorney John Q. Kelly, who has worked amazingly on this case, and George Seymore and Marc Wachtenheim of Patriot Strategies.”
CNN has contacted the Justice Department, the State Department and the Alabama governor’s office for comment.
— CNN’s Hande Atay Alam, Travis Caldwell and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.
The CNN Wire
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