Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an Alabama teen, was being transferred to a different prison in Peru early on Saturday, according to officials. This was the first stage in what is anticipated to be his eventual temporary transfer to face prosecution in the United States.
Officials with knowledge of the situation who spoke to journalists from CNN en Espaol said that Van der Sloot was being transferred from a maximum security jail in southern Peru to a prison in the capital, Lima.
An earlier report from CNN en Espaol cited a source as saying that van der Sloot’s temporary transfer from Peru to the United States will start Friday night.
Van der Sloot is set to be transferred to the US to face extortion and fraud charges related to an alleged plot to extort Holloway’s family after her disappearance, Peruvian officials have said. How long the transfer process would take is not yet known, officials told CNN en Español journalists.
Maximo Altez, van der Sloot’s attorney, received a letter from van der Sloot last week asking him not to appeal his transfer to the US. “I want to go to the US,” van der Sloot wrote, Altez told CNN en Español Tuesday.
Van der Sloot was involved in a fight inside his prison ward during visiting hours last week and suffered a cut to his fingers and some bruising, Altez said, adding that van der Sloot was placed in the prison’s medical section.
Van der Sloot, a Dutch national, was convicted in 2012 of murdering Stephany Flores, 21, in his Lima hotel room and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
He faces charges in connection with an alleged plot to sell false information about the whereabouts of 18-year-old Holloway’s remains in exchange for $250,000. Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, wired $15,000 to a bank account van der Sloot held in the Netherlands and through her attorney gave him another $10,000 in person, according to a 2010 US federal indictment.
Once he had the initial $25,000, van der Sloot said he would show John Kelly, the Holloway family attorney, where Natalee Holloway’s remains were hidden, but the information turned out to be false, the indictment states.
Natalee Holloway was last seen alive with van der Sloot and two other men 18 years ago leaving a nightclub in Aruba.
Police in Aruba arrested and released the three men – van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe – multiple times in 2005 and 2007 in connection with Holloway’s disappearance. Attorneys for the men maintained the men’s innocence throughout the investigation.
In December 2007, the Aruban Public Prosecutor’s Office said none of the three would be charged and dropped the cases against them, citing insufficient evidence.
Holloway’s body has not been found. An Alabama judge signed an order in 2012 declaring her legally dead. No one is currently charged in her death.