BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (NewsNation) — Joran van der Sloot, the chief suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, pleaded not guilty to fraud and extortion charges Friday morning.
Dressed in an Air Jordan T-shirt, van der Sloot briefly wore an earpiece delivering a Dutch translation of the hearing, NewsNation local affiliate WIAT wrote, but ultimately chose not to use it.
Van der Sloot, WIAT said, was escorted out of prison in Peru on Thursday morning to begin the trek to America.
While in Peru, he had been serving a 28-year sentence for the slaying of a Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, 21. She died in 2010 — five years to the day after Holloway’s disappearance.
Holloway, 18, was on a high school graduation trip with classmates to the Caribbean island of Aruba when she went missing. She was last seen by friends as she was leaving a bar with van der Sloot.
U.S. prosecutors said in 2010 that van der Sloot reached out to Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, seeking the money to disclose the location of her daughter’s body.
WIAT wrote that van der Sloot’s promise came up empty, however, and he eventually fled to Peru. He was wanted in the U.S. on one count each of extortion and wire fraud — the only charges ever to have linked him to Holloway.
Beth Holloway released a statement when van der Sloot was extradited that said she is overcome with “mixed emotions.”
“As a mother who has tirelessly pursued justice for the abduction and murder of my precious daughter, I stand before you today with a heart both heavy with sorrow and yet lifted by a glimmer of hope,” the statement said.
United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona said in a statement that van der Sloot will be returned to Peru after his case concludes, pursuant to the terms of the Extradition Treaty between Peru and the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.