The Dutchman long suspected of having played a role in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway has arrived in the United States to face allegations of fraud.
Joran van der Sloot left Piedras Gordas prison on Thursday morning and was taken to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Callao, Peru, where he was handed over to US authorities. A plane carrying van der Sloot landed in Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday afternoon.
He served less than half of his 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the murder of another woman in 2010 before the transfer.
Holloway’s disappearance 18 years ago has long irked authorities in Aruba and the United States. Peruvian officials revealed last month that they were handing him over to US authorities.
A spokesperson for Holloway’s mother said in a statement Thursday that Beth Holloway has been waiting nearly two decades for this day to come.
“For more than 18 years, Beth Holloway has hoped, prayed and fought for this day – a day that is a monumental milestone in her relentless quest to achieve justice for Natalee,” according to George Patriot Seymore’s statement. “She is happy that Joran van der Sloot has been extradited to the United States and is finally answerable for his heinous crimes against his beloved daughter.”
Van der Sloot is due to stand trial in federal court in Birmingham on Friday.
Holloway, 18, was vacationing with classmates in Aruba, celebrating their high school graduation, when she disappeared on May 30, 2005 and has not been seen since. She was last seen getting into a car with van der Sloot and two other men.
Although Holloway’s body was not found, she was declared legally dead by an Alabama probate judge.
Van der Sloot was arrested in connection with Holloway’s disappearance, but later released for lack of evidence.
Although van der Sloot was never prosecuted for kidnapping or murder in the Holloway case, he was indicted in the Northern District of Alabama on federal wire fraud and extortion allegations.
He is accused of lying to the teenager’s mother, Beth Holloway, and taking $25,000 from her in exchange for information about the location of Natalee’s body.
“I am overwhelmed with mixed emotions. As a mother who relentlessly pursued justice for the kidnapping and murder of my precious daughter, I stand before you today with a heart that is both heavy with grief and yet lifted by a ray of hope” , Beth Holloway said in her statement. “For 18 years I lived with the unbearable pain of losing Natalee. Each day was filled with unanswered questions and a desire for justice that eluded us at every turn. But today, with the extradition of its author to the United States, I am hopeful that a small semblance of justice can finally be achieved, even if no amount of justice will heal the pain we have endured.
According to the 2010 indictment, van der Sloot “confirmed via email that the information he provided regarding Natalee Holloway was ‘worthless'”.
Van der Sloot had spent more than a decade behind bars in Peru for the murder of business student Stephany Flores, 21, in a hotel room in Lima on May 30, 2010.
He allegedly attacked Flores after looking at his laptop and determining that he was connected to Holloway’s disappearance.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com