Bypassing the years of teasing with the truth and repeated run-ins with police that he went through in the aftermath of Natalee Holloway's disappearance in 2005, young Dutchman Joran van der Sloot has confessed to the murder of 21-year-old Peruvian Stephany Flores. According to local news sources, the 22-year-old admitted the truth after only a few days in custody in an effort to lighten his sentence. From the Post:
“I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life," van der Sloot told Peruvian authorities, according to La Republica newspaper. He said he became enraged after Flores snatched his computer, snapping her neck and striking her, the paper said. "She had no right," he reportedly griped to investigators. "She was scared, we argued, she tried to escape and I grabbed her by the neck and hit her."
Security footage showed the pair entering his hotel room, and Van der Sloot exiting alone three hours later, at which point he told employees not to go into his room. He hopped into a cab and paid the driver $600 to drive him to Chile, chain smoking the whole way.
Hotel workers did not discover Flores's body until Van der Sloot's prepaid days had run out.
Last week we pondered the issue of why Van der Sloot and John Mark Karr (and Drew Peterson!) are enjoying a resurgence of public attention after their original nefarious debuts on news specials and in the supermarket tabloids. (Karr for claiming to have been present at the death of young pageant star JonBenet Ramsay, and Peterson for being accused of murdering his third and fourth wives.) Why do some of these people become so famous and so enduring on our national radar? And does the attention affect the suspects themselves?
Van der Sloot says that he "did not want to do it" and is now reportedly on "suicide watch." But he murdered Flores five years to the day after Holloway disappeared, and also the very same day he was charged in Alabama by federal prosecutors for trying to extort Elizabeth Twitty, Holloway's mother, for $250,000 in exchange for revealing where Natalee's body was buried. This information doesn't necessarily change anything about the original mystery, but it does shed light on what happens to the stars of such dramas later in life: Their return to normalcy is rendered nearly impossible. With Joran's confession, we'll likely miss a trial, which could have provided an interesting look into the psyche of a person who has been fetishized as a playboy and killer by the sensationalist international media. Instead, now we'll just have to wait for the Barbara Walters interview.