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Colombia police investigate Van der Sloot over missing girls
Published on:Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 13:01
Police in Colombia are investigating whether Dutch national Johan van der Sloot was involved in the disappearance of two girls in Bogotá. Van der Sloot, also the chief suspect in the murder case of Peruvian woman Stephany Flores, was reportedly seen in various casinos in the Colombian capital in the company of young girls.
The sensationalist newspaper El Espacio has published an article on the Dutchman, linking his visits to Bogotá casinos to attend poker games between 6 and 14 May 2010, to the young women’s disappearance. The two girls went missing in the same period and - according to eye-witnesses - were spotted in Van der Sloot’s company. The 22-year-old Dutchman stayed at two or more hotels, the newspaper reports.
Crosses the border unnoticed
On 14 May, Van der Sloot left for Peru. According to a Colombian police spokesman, “there is no official documentation” of Johan van der Sloot crossing the Colombian border into Peru. The spokesman admits in Dutch newspaper, the AD, that there are several points along the border where it’s possible to cross over without being checked.
The police spokesman has confirmed that Bogotá is investigating the disappearance of the two girls, but stresses that there is as yet unsubstantiated evidence to implicate Johan van der Sloot, who is still the main suspect in the case of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
Van der Sloot gained international notoriety because of his connection with the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway on the island of Aruba in 2005. Ms Holloway's body has never been found and the case remains unsolved. Although Van der Sloot is the chief suspect, no charges have been brought against him due to lack of evidence.
Natalee's father, Dave Holloway, has said he hopes the confession over the Stephany Flores murder will lead to more revelations in Natalee's case. The father of the US teenager said a long prison term in a Peruvian jail would at least be a just punishment for Van der Sloot. The Public Prosecutor in Aruba has offered to assist Peru in the Flores investigation.
Once in Peru, Van der Sloot checked into a hotel in the capital, Lima. The Dutchman has since confessed to the murder of the 21-year-old Peruvian woman on 30 May. Apparently, Van der Sloot reacted furiously when Ms Flores used his laptop without his permission and discovered his link to the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway.
If found guilty of murder, Van der Sloot faces a 35-year jail sentence in Peru. If the sentence is reduced to manslaughter, he could get a 20-year jail term. Peruvian Minister of Social Development and Women’s Affairs, Nidia Vílchez Yucra, is calling for the maximum sentence.