It’s the true crime case that dominated the press in 2005. Natalee Holloway, 18, disappeared while on vacation with her friends in Aruba, celebrating her high school graduation. In 2012, she was declared legally dead, though her body was never found.

How Did Natalee Holloway Die?

The 18-year-old student was last seen leaving a bar in Aruba with Joran van der Sloot. The now 36-year-old was convicted of killing Stephany Flores Ramírez in Peru in 2010, and is currently serving 28 years in prison in the South American country for her murder.

Though Natalee’s body has never been found, van der Sloot had been arrested several times in connection to her disappearance but was never charged. At the time, Aruban authorities cited a lack of evidence. 

Several videos of van der Sloot confessing to her murder have surfaced throughout the years, though many have chalked it up to a “publicity stunt.” Natalee was pronounced “dead by absentia” seven years after she went missing.

natalee holloway murder

Years later, van der Sloot was indicted in 2010 on federal charges of wire fraud and extortion in connection to a plot to sell information about the whereabouts of Natalee’s remains to Natalee’s mom, Beth Holloway, in exchange for $250,000. According to the indictment, the scheme took place between March and May 2010. 

van der Sloot was later extradited to the United States in June 2023 to face his charges, to which he initially pleaded not guilty. 

In October 2023, the family’s lawyer, John Q. Kelly, told Fox News that van der Sloot was expected to take a plea deal during a court hearing that month. As a condition of that deal, he was required to reveal details on how the teen died and what happened to her body. 

During his October 18, 2023, court hearing — nearly 20 years after the teen’s initial disappearance — van der Sloot admitted to killing the Alabama native.

“He said that after killing her on the beach in Aruba, he put her into the water and that was the last that he ever saw her,” Beth told reporters after van der Sloot’s confession. ” … I’m satisfied knowing that he did it, he did it alone and he disposed of her alone.”

Judge Anna Manasco, meanwhile, took his confession into consideration, before telling him, “You have brutally murdered in separate incidents years apart two beautiful women who refused your sexual advances.” 

van der Sloot is currently serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of Stephany Flores and is expected to finish his murder sentence in the South American country before starting his prison sentence for extortion and wire fraud in the United States. He is facing 20 years behind bars for each charge.

Did Natalee Holloway Have Siblings?

Natalee’s brother Matt Holloway is the only other child of Beth and Dave Holloway, who divorced years before Natalee’s disappearance. Matt was 16 years old when Natalee vanished from the Caribbean island. In 2014, Matt welcomed a baby girl named Rylee, the only grandchild of Beth and Dave.

What Year Did Natalie Holloway Die?

The prospective college student went missing on May 30, 2005. Her body was never found and she was eventually declared “dead in absentia” in 2012.

Where Is Natalee Holloway’s Mother Beth Now?

Beth has worked as a motivational speaker since Natalee’s disappearance and also manages a horse ranch in Montana. She remarried George “Jug” Twitty in 2000 but the couple divorced one year after Natalee’s disappearance. George cited that they had “such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together.”

On the 10-year anniversary of Natalee’s disappearance, Beth appeared on the TODAY show. “Where I am today is in a good place,” she said. “I’ve been able to redefine my life, and I’ve been able to find joy and happiness through my son, through my son’s new family, and my work, so I think I’m in a good place now.”

What Happened to Natalee Holloway? Details on How She Died
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In 2010, Beth snuck into the Peruvian prison where Joran van der Sloot was serving his sentence for murdering Stefany Flores. “She’s still looking for answers about her daughter,” lawyer John Q. Kelly told NBC News at the time. “She wants to bring her daughter home.”

Beth took “great comfort” in van der Sloot being behind bars, but she stayed determined to find out what happened to her daughter. 

“Justice is being served for Stephany Flores, thank God,” she explained in an August 2016 interview. “And he is in prison in Peru. But justice has not been served for Natalee … That would be justice to me, to see him serve prison time in the United States. That would be justice for Natalee.”

Following van der Sloot’s October 2023 confession, Beth condemned her daughter’s killer in an emotional victim impact statement during the court proceedings. “For 19 years you denied killing Natalee Holloway. Your lies have caused indiscernible pain. You have finally admitted that you murdered her,” she said, according to CNN. “You are a killer and I want you to remember that.”

What High School Did Natalee Holloway Attend?

Though she was born in Mississippi in 1986, Natalee attended high school in Alabama. In 2005, she graduated from Mountain Brook High School with honors.

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