EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World News

June 4, 2010

Holloway suspect held in Peru killing


Ovalle said it was likely van der Sloot would be expelled to Peru. Peruvian authorities issued an arrest warrant for him through Interpol after learning van der Sloot had crossed into northern Chile on Monday.

Van der Sloot checked into the room where Flores' body was found May 14 after arriving on a flight from Colombia, Guardia said. He was in Peru for a poker tournament and it appears he and Flores met Saturday evening at Atlantic City, the Lima casino hosting the tourney, Guardia said.

The police chief said Flores was killed between 5 a.m. Sunday, when the victim and suspect were seen entering his room by a hotel employee, and about 8:45 a.m., when he said two people saw van der Sloot leave.

"Various things aren't very clear," Guardia said, among them the killer's motive.

It certainly wasn't money, he said. Van der Sloot had no problem paying for his escape to Chile.

He gave a truck driver 1,500 Peruvian soles ($525) to take him from Ica, a town south of Lima, to the Chilean border, the driver, Luis Aparcana, said in a TV interview. He said van der Sloot didn't speak very good Spanish and carried two suitcases.

Aparcana said van der Sloot "was worried because he kept smoking cigarettes. He didn't have a cell phone but he had a laptop that he would take out, handle and then put back."

Lawyers for van der Sloot could not immediately be reached for comment. On Wednesday, a lawyer in New York who has represented him, Joe 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.

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