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05.31.13

Wedding Bells for Natalie Holloway Suspect Joran van der Sloot

The 26-year-old Dutchman and suspect in Natalee Holloway’s disappearance—now serving time for the murder of a Peruvian girl—is set to marry, his lawyer confirms.

It’s wedding bells for Joran van der Sloot, the 26-year old Dutchman who is serving 28 years in a Peruvian prison for the murder of Peruvian college student Stephany Flores. Van der Sloot gained notoriety in 2005 in connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, 19, from Alabama, who disappeared on a school trip in Aruba. Van der Sloot was the last person to be seen with Holloway on the night before she was scheduled to fly back to America. Her body was never found, but van der Sloot confessed to several different scenarios, including leaving her drunk on the beach and selling her into the sex trade. He was twice arrested but never formally charged for any crime relating to the case in Aruba. Flores was murdered five years to the day that Holloway disappeared. Van der Sloot admitted to killing Flores, but blamed posttraumatic stress disorder for being accused of Holloway’s disappearance for making him kill the Peruvian.

The Dutchman’s new bride, who can justifiably be questioned for her taste in men, is Leydi Figueroa Uced, a 22-year-old Peruvian who regularly visits van der Sloot in Piedras Gordas prison. His lawyer, Máximo Altez, confirmed the impending nuptials, which will take place in prison in early June. Last October van der Sloot told the Dutch daily De Telegraaf that his bride-to-be was pregnant with his child, but no reports of the baby’s birth have since been released. Conjugal visits are allowed in Peruvian prisons if couples register as common-law partners, as the two lovebirds are.

While no one can know for sure whether van ser Sloot and Figueroa Uced are truly in love, marrying a Peruvian and fathering her child may save van der Sloot from further punishment. In 2010, van der Sloot was charged with attempting to extort $250,000 from Beth Holloway in exchange for the exact location and details of her daughter’s death. Holloway gave him $25,000 as a down payment, but he took the money and traveled to Peru to play in a poker tournament, where he ultimately met Flores, lured her to his Lima hotel room and then killed her after she found incriminating materials relating to the Holloway case on his personal computer. He pled guilty in his trial and was sentenced to 28 years, two years short of the maximum sentence of 30 years. He was also ordered to pay the Flores family around $75,000 in damages. He faces 25 years in the American extortion case.

In 2010, Beth Holloway was able to sneak into the Peruvian jail to question van der Sloot about her daughter’s disappearance. Holloway was accompanied by Dutch investigative journalist Peter de Vries, who captured the visit on camera. Holloway was able to get van der Sloot to admit to the extortion, but not to the truth about what happened to her daughter.

“Marrying a local Peruvian will hinder America’s chances of extraditing him.”

Last May, an accord was reached between the United States and Peru, and van der Sloot was supposed to be extradited to face charges in the United States last year on the grounds that he was a foreign national. The extradition stalled after van der Sloot’s lawyer was able to negotiate an eleventh-hour deal to keep the Dutchman in Peru. Now, by marrying a local Peruvian, he can automatically apply for Peruvian citizenship, which will hinder America’s chances of extraditing him.

This is not the first time van der Sloot has been rumored to wed. Last year, rumors surfaced of his impending nuptials but he apparently got cold feet. This time, according to his lawyer, the news is true. But whether the love is true is anyone’s guess.