Dateline   |  September 10, 2010

Joran van der Sloot Behind Bars

Joran van der Sloot’s criminal odyssey came to a halt with his recent arrest and imprisonment in Lima, Peru, where he revealed his own feelings to Dutch crime reporter, John van den Heuvel. Dateline’s Chris Hansen sat down with van den Heuvel.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

CHRIS HANSEN reporting: Now the story of another international flight from the law. This one has ended, for now, in a South American prison, where Joran van der Sloot is being held on murder charges in the death of a Peruvian woman. It's been a long, bizarre journey for the man suspected in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway . And now, in an exclusive interview obtained by NBC News , Joran van der Sloot as you've never heard him before, in his own chilling words.

There he is emerging from lockdown for a pat-down. Yet after three months in this tough Lima prison, Joran van der Sloot looks healthy and relaxed. Amazingly, as you'll soon hear, he sees himself not as a murder suspect but as a victim. And incredibly, he's angry at the family of Natalee Holloway .

Mr. JORAN VAN DER SLOOT: So many things have happened because of that case and people bothering me, lying to me, you name it, anything else, that yeah, I have a lot of anger because of that, also.

HANSEN: He considers himself a victim, even though he's the chief suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway , even though he's wanted in the United States for alleged extortion of the Holloway family, even though he's facing murder charges in the killing this year of a young Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores . In the meantime, van der Sloot says he's doing just fine, thank you.

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: Well, when I was arrested, I -- and I was scared, for sure, and also at the police station, things happened that were not OK at all, but since I've been here in the prison, they -- I've been treated really well.

HANSEN: Tonight, in his first television interview since his arrest, an exclusive from behind bars. Van der Sloot is talking. He's at turns reflective...

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: I can understand that it's very hard for a -- for a family to lose somebody.

HANSEN: ...and cold.

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: Natalee 's someone I met one night, and I barely know her.

HANSEN: He's adding new detail, telling new stories and claiming to feel sympathy for the family of one of his alleged victims.

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: I feel really bad that her family -- that her family had to lose their daughter. That really does hurt me, and I think about it all the time.

HANSEN: Also tonight, DATELINE retraces van der Sloot 's exotic odyssey across four continents, with exclusive details and photos. Years after Natalee Holloway 's disappearance, he was living the life of a well-heeled jet setter.

HANSEN: What you'll hear tonight from Joran van der Sloot might offend you, might anger you -- but it also might give you rare insight into the mind of a notorious young man who's been in the headlines for the last five years . In an interview conducted by a veteran Dutch crime reporter and licensed by NBC News , van der Sloot seemed to confront his growing mountain of legal troubles and acknowledges, for the first time , his own role in causing so much grief.

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: It's a whole web of problems, but I created all of them myself, so, yeah, I have to deal with it now, deal with the consequences.


HANSEN: Dutch crime reporter John van den Heuvel interviewed van der Sloot in Dutch and English two weeks ago at Lima 's Miguel Castro Castro Prison . Why did van der Sloot decide to talk now?

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: Well, I think it's important to put my side across. I'm being portrayed as a monster, as someone horrible. I want to counter that.

HANSEN: This latest chapter in the bizarre half-decade saga of Joran van der Sloot , Natalee Holloway and now Stephany Flores began in May in Peru . Van der Sloot says he was there for two weeks to play in a poker tournament in the Miraflores section of Lima .

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: Yeah, mostly playing cash games in the casino, and that's mostly what I was doing.

Mr. VAN DEN HEUVEL: Did you met girls in the period?

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: I met -- yeah, we went out in the nighttime to different clubs and other spots in Miraflores .

Mr. VAN DEN HEUVEL: Yeah. You took those girls into your hotel? Did you have sex with them?

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: I don't -- I don't think that's important at all -- at all, when we're talking about this. No.

HANSEN: Whatever happened on the nights before, on May 30th , on the fifth anniversary of Natalee Holloway 's disappearance, this image of van der Sloot was captured on a casino security video. Another camera showed a 21-year-old woman, Stephany Flores , a college student and avid poker player in the last few hours of her life. And a camera inside the casino captured Stephany with Joran van der Sloot .

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: I met her a couple of days before in the -- in the casino. She came to play in the same table as me, and then we smoked a cigarette together and talked, and the day after exchanged phone numbers.

Mr. VAN DEN HEUVEL: Mm-hmm. What was your impression of her?

Mr. VAN DER SLOOT: Yeah, a very nice girl, like she was my -- like a friend.

HANSEN: That night they played together for about two hours. Stephany Flores is seen collecting some of her winnings. Then, as night turned to day, they went to his $40-a-night room at the Hotel Tac . On the hotel's surveillance camera, van der Sloot is seen picking up a key at the front desk with Flores behind him. At 5:33 AM Van der Sloot and Flores are seen entering room 309. Three hours later, van der Sloot is seen in a different shirt, apparently locked out of his room. He called a hotel employee to let him in. About 20 minutes later, he's seen leaving, by himself, wearing a backpack. He left the TV blaring and reportedly told the front desk clerk, 'Don't disturb my girl.' And