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Official: Van der Sloot confesses to Peru slaying

Joran van der Sloot confessed to the slaying of a 21-year-old woman in a Lima hotel room, a high-ranking Peruvian government official told NBC News on Monday.
Image: Joran Van der Sloot
Joran Van der Sloot, center, is escorted by Peruvian police officers at the police headquarters in Lima, on Saturday.Pilar Olivares / Reuters
/ Source: NBC News and news services

Joran van der Sloot confessed to the slaying of a 21-year-old woman in a Lima hotel room, a high-ranking Peruvian government official told NBC News on Monday.

According to La Republica newspaper, van der Sloot said he broke Stephany Flores' neck after she grabbed his laptop without his permission and found out that he was involved in the disappearance of an American woman.

The paper quoted van der Sloot as saying, "I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life... she didn't have any right. I went to her and I hit her. She was scared, we argued and she tried to escape. I grabbed her by the neck and hit her."

NBC News reported that a lawmaker confirmed that van der Sloot confessed to a police officer during interrogation. However, the source did not know the circumstances under which the confession was allegedly obtained.

The Dutchman — also the prime suspect in U.S. teen Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance in Aruba — is suspected of killing Flores, a business student who police say he met playing poker at a casino, on May 30 — five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance.

On Saturday, police released video taken by security cameras at the hotel where van der Sloot had been staying since arriving from Colombia on May 14. It shows Flores and van der Sloot entering his room together and the Dutchman leaving alone four hours later.

The woman's battered body was found on the hotel room's floor more than two days later, her neck broken. Van der Sloot had by then crossed into Chile, where he was arrested Thursday.

Natalee Holloway, of Alabama, hasn't been seen since May 30, 2005. Van der Sloot was arrested and released in that case, but faced no charges.

'End of the line'
Dave Holloway, Natalee Holloway's father, told ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday that he hoped van der Sloot would reveal what happened to his daughter and said search teams were standing by to look for her body.

"He's confessed to this one," Holloway said of Flores' death, "and I'd like for him to tell everyone what happened."

"I would just like to say that, you know, all the pain and suffering that we've gone through, hopefully justice is served this time," he added, speaking to the show by telephone. "We're hoping this is the end of the line for him."

Van der Sloot was charged Thursday in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's family in exchange for disclosing the location of her body and describing how she died.

U.S. prosecutors say $15,000 was transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name. In the Netherlands on Friday, prosecutors raided two homes in the case, seizing computers, cell phones and data-storage devices.

Holloway told ABC that only his ex-wife Beth Twitty had been told about the case by the FBI until shortly before the charges were made public.

"That was handled by the FBI and I knew nothing about it. I think the only person that was involved in this incident was Beth. The FBI indicated that only the people involved in it should know," Holloway told ABC.

Holloway described the Flores murder as being like "deja vu."

Holloway, 18, was celebrating her high school graduation on Aruba when she disappeared. Van der Sloot told investigators he left her on a beach, drunk. This was the last time she was seen.

Two years ago, a Dutch television crime reporter captured hidden-camera footage of van der Sloot saying that after Holloway collapsed on the beach he asked a friend to dump her body in the sea.

The same journalist, Peter de Vries, reported later in 2008 that van der Sloot was recruiting Thai women in Bangkok for sex work in the Netherlands.

Van der Sloot's father, a former judge and attorney on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, died in February.

After Van der Sloot traveled from Chile to Peru in a police caravan Saturday, he was paraded, sheathed in bulletproof vest and handcuffed, before reporters at criminal police headquarters in Lima.

He was then submitted to an initial interrogation. A judge subsequently granted prosecutors' request to extend van der Sloot's preliminary detention order seven more days, said Gamboa, the national police spokesman.

If tried and convicted of murder, van der Sloot faces a potential prison term of 35 years.

Police planned to take him back to the hotel where Flores' body was found to participate in a reconstruction of the events leading to her slaying, Col. Abel Gamarra, head of the Information Directorate of Police, told The Associated Press.

Members of van der Sloot's family, including his mother, were planning to travel to Lima on Tuesday, a lawmaker told NBC News.

Earlier denial
Chilean police had said previously that van der Sloot declared himself innocent in the Lima slaying, but said he had acknowledged having met Flores.

Dutch Embassy chief consular officer Angela Lowe said her government was providing van der Sloot with "regular consular assistance, which means an occasional consular visit, and we will make sure he is being treated decently, just like any other inmate."

She said Peruvian authorities have assured the Dutch government they are treating him well. "They are taking this case very seriously," she added. "The world is watching."