Video: Official: Van der Sloot confesses to Peru killing

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    >>> our next half-hour.

    >>> moving on, there has been a surprising development overnight tied to the arrest of joran van der sloot . police in peru say he has confessed to killing a young woman in his hotel room . nbc's michelle kosinski is in lima with details. michelle, good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, meredith. yesterday police weren't saying anything. the last we would have heard from them was that joran van der sloot admitted to meeting the victim but denied he had beaten her to death in his hotel room . late last night that abruptly changed. a source within the government ministry confirmed to me that during police interrogation van der sloot confessed to the murder saying though that it was not intentional.

    >> police this morning are preparing to take joran van der sloot from his jail cell and bring him back to the scene of the crime . a brutal, violent scene he had denied any part of. until last night. the news broke all of a sudden from inside the government that, under police questioning for a third day straight, joran van der sloot had cracked, told an officer he had indeed killed 21-year-old business student stephany flores in his hotel room . according to television and newspaper reports quoting their police sources, van der sloot told investigators he did not plan this, did not want to do it. they claim van der sloot explained that stephany, who died from a blow to the head so fierce that it was likely what broke her next, had intruded into his private life , had looked at his laptop while he was out buying coffee and according to multiple reports found out about natalee holloway , the alabama teenager who disappeared five years to the day before stephany died. last seen getting into a car in aruba with joran van der sloot . local press claim he told police stephany had tried to get away from his anger but that he grabbed her next and hit her. police say she had multiple bruises and abrasions on her body, including her hands. in newly leaked video from the investigation, joran van der sloot appears absolutely calm and confident, even just caught by police across the border in chile the day after stephany's body was found. when they asked him to sign a document, he was concerned about his rights. but from the beginning, police said they had found incriminating evidence against him. they wouldn't say what. he was the last one to be seen with stephany after meeting her in this casino, going back to his hotel at 5:00 a.m ., then leaving alone four hours later. yesterday police confirmed that van der sloot was on suicide watch , alone in his jail cell , guarded by four officers. and now, they say, the 22-year-old who has long been called suspect in another big case has confessed to killing a young woman he had known for merely hours here. if this is true that van der sloot is explaining this all happened at the spur of the moment , keep in mind you also have the family of the victim saying that her money and jewelry are missing. van der sloot has not yet been charged with a crime. that could happen today formally. the government says his family is also expected to arrive in peru today, including, they believe, his mother. meredith?

    >> michelle kosinski , thank you very

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 6/9/2010 3:55:57 PM ET 2010-06-09T19:55:57

The FBI thought it was closing in on Joran Van der Sloot in the notorious Natalee Holloway case, paying him at least $15,000 in a sting operation, federal officials said Wednesday.

But when the agency delayed his arrest to help build a murder case, he took the money and headed for Peru, where authorities say he now has confessed to killing a different young woman.

Federal law enforcement officials and a private investigator say the work on Holloway's disappearance was revived about six weeks ago when van der Sloot reached out to someone close to the Alabama teenager's mother and requested $250,000 in exchange for disclosing the location of the young woman's body on the island of Aruba.

Aruba authorities have been frustrated in their efforts to prosecute van der Sloot because they have been unable to find her remains.

The federal officials said Wednesday that Holloway's mother contacted authorities in Alabama, and the FBI set a sting operation in motion targeting van der Sloot. He has since been charged in Alabama with trying to extort money from the family.

Some $15,000 was wired to a bank account van der Sloot controlled, officials added.

Bo Dietl, a private investigator, said van der Sloot received an additional $10,000 in cash. In April, shortly after van der Sloot's father died, van der Sloot contacted an attorney for the Holloway family, John Kelly, and offered to explain how Holloway died in exchange for $250,000, Dietl said.

Dietl said that at a May 10 meeting in Aruba, Kelly offered van der Sloot $25,000 upfront, with the rest to be delivered once the body was found.

"He said he pushed Natalee Holloway, her head hit a rock," Dietl said. He said the father was told the body was buried "near a construction site near their house." But the information proved to be false, said the private investigator.

"He's lied so much, we don't know," said Dietl, who has been working with Kelly on the Holloway case.

Cases began five years apart
Van der Sloot was the last person seen with Holloway before she vanished during a high school graduation trip to the Dutch Caribbean island on May 30, 2005. He was arrested but has been released twice because of a lack of evidence.

He is being held in Peru in connection with the May 30 killing of 21-year-old business student Stephany Flores, the daughter of a Peruvian circus impresario and former race car driver. She was found beaten to death, her neck broken, in the 22-year-old Dutchman's hotel room. Police said the two met playing poker at a casino.

Peru's chief police spokesman, Col. Abel Gamarra, told The Associated Press on Monday that van der Sloot had confessed to killing Flores. A Dutch newspaper has quoted a family lawyer as saying the confession may have been coerced.

For five years, van der Sloot has remained the key suspect in Aruba for the disappearance of Holloway, an 18-year-old from Alabama.

Van der Sloot, who was a fixture on true crime shows and in tabloids after Holloway's disappearance, crossed into Chile on Monday, roughly a day after leaving the Lima hotel. The day of his arrest in Chile, he was charged in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's family.

The federal criminal complaint in that case, filed in Birmingham, Ala., alleged an arrangement to pay the money for disclosing the location of Holloway's body. According to a sworn statement, van der Sloot got a partial payment of $15,000 wired to a Netherlands bank soon after, but the complaint does not say where the money came from.

Trip to crime scene?
The U.S. government's involvement in the payment to van der Sloot was first reported by the New York Post. Law enforcement officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the murder investigation in Aruba is still under way. In Birmingham, Ala., FBI spokesman Paul Daymond and a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, Peggy Sanford, declined to comment.

Peruvian police were planning plan to take Van der Sloot to visit the crime scene, officials said Tuesday.

Video: Will killing reopen Holloway case? They also said police have until the weekend to file criminal charges against the Dutchman.

The beating death occurred exactly five years Holloway disappeared in Aruba — an assumed death in which Van der Sloot has long been considered the prime suspect by authorities on the Dutch Caribbean island.

It wasn't clear if Van der Sloot has obtained private counsel, and there was no immediate word from either him or his family about the reported confession.

Alleged confession
A high-ranking Peruvian government official told NBC news on Monday that van der Sloot had confessed to the murder.

Several Peruvian media outlets also reported, without identifying their sources, that he admitted to killing Flores in a rage after learning she looked up information about his past on his laptop without permission.

The newspaper La Republica said Van der Sloot tearfully confessed, in the presence of a prosecutor and a state-appointed attorney, to grabbing Flores by the neck and hitting her because she had viewed images about the Aruba case on his computer while he was out buying coffee.

Meanwhile, the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant quoted the suspect's lawyer in the Netherlands as suggesting the confession may have been coerced.

"Joran told his mother crying Monday that he was being interrogated under reasonably barbaric conditions," the paper quoted Bert De Rooij saying. "He said the police were trying to force him to confess."

Under such conditions, he said, the "confession was possibly false."

Van der Sloot's mother, who apparently lives in Aruba, could not be located for comment. The suspect's father, a former judge and attorney on Aruba, died in February.

Beaten to death
Flores, the daughter of a Peruvian circus empresario and former race car driver, was found beaten to death, her neck broken, in the 22-year-old Dutchman's hotel room. Police said the two met playing poker at a casino.

The chief of Peru's criminal police, Gen. Cesar Guardia, said the crime scene visit at the TAC hotel would most likely occur Wednesday. A psychological exam of the suspect is also required before a judge can decide whether he should stand trial.

Asked about the alleged confession, a brother of the victim, Enrique Flores, had no comment. "What we as a family want to do now is rest a bit and let this follow the judicial path," he said.

Video from hotel security cameras shows the two entering Van der Sloot's room together at 5 a.m. Sunday and Van der Sloot leaving alone four hours later with his bags. Police say Van der Sloot also left the hotel briefly at 8:10 a.m. and returned with two cups of coffee and bread purchased across the street at a supermarket.

Murder convictions carry a maximum of 35 years in prison in Peru, and it was not immediately clear if a confession could lead to a reduced sentence.

Van der Sloot remains the key suspect in Aruba for the 2005 disappearance of Holloway, an 18-year-old from Alabama who was on the resort island celebrating her high school graduation. He was arrested twice in the case — and gave a number of conflicting confessions, some in TV interviews — but was freed for lack of evidence.

Holloway's father, Dave, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday that Van der Sloot should tell all he knows about the disappearance of his daughter. "Hopefully this is his last victim."

The girl's mother, Beth Holloway, said her heart and prayers were with the Flores family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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