August 3, 2010
It seems that Joran van der Sloot, having claimed, fruitlessly, that his detailed confession to the murder of Stephany Flores was a) coerced, b) improperly translated/misunderstood by his translator, is now going for c) an insanity defense.
It won't work.
Maximo Altez, Joran's lawyer, has stated that Joran is a sick fellow. Well, (more…)
June 11, 2010
News reports out of Peru state that Joran van der Sloot, while confessing to the murder of Stephany Flores, mentioned to his interrogators that he knew the exact location of Natalee Holloway's remains. He was, however, unwilling to share this knowledge with the Lima cops. He DID indicate that he'd be willing to share (more…)
June 10, 2010
The FBI has been taking some heat for not arresting Joran van der Sloot immediately after they caught him on tape in Aruba extorting $25,000 from John Q. Kelly, Beth Holloway's lawyer, in exchange for information concerning the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway's body.
If Joran HAD been arrested on May 10, Stephany Flores would, in all (more…)
June 10, 2010
CBS, Fox, and other news agencies are reporting that while Stephany Flores Ramirez lay dead on Joran van der Sloot's hotel room floor, Joran went out to fetch himself some breakfast. He returned with the take-out to the hotel room, and dined while, apparently, contemplating Ms. Flores's corpse and trying to decide what to (more…)
June 10, 2010
It has been reported by the Peruvian press that before Joran van der Sloot gave what appears to be a truthful--or truthful as far as it ever gets with Joran--confession to the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez, he told the authorities who detained him in Chile a different story. This one involved Stephany and (more…)
June 8, 2010
According to Peruvian law enforcement authorities, Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway five years ago, has confessed to the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez, a student at business college and the daughter of a prominent Peruvian industrialist/impresario, race car driver, and one-time political candidate.
Van der Sloot (more…)
June 3, 2010
If you were laboring under the delusion that this case couldn't possibly get stranger, you were wrong.
Today, the same day Joran van der Sloot was detained in Chile as principal suspect in the murder of Stephany Flores, a criminal complaint against him was filed by the United States Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama, Natalee Holloway's home state.
I have read the complaint, and it states that (more…)
June 3, 2010
CNN has just announced (1:00 pm EST) that Joran van der Sloot has been arrested in Santiago, Chile.
Later reports indicate that Joran was detained by Chilean authorities in a resort town outside Santiago, then brought under guard to Santiago. As far as I can tell, he'll be escorted to the border and turned over (more…)
June 3, 2010
The most recent reports state that an autopsy has been done on Ms. Flores and that, contrary to earlier reports, she did not die of stabbing injuries but of a broken neck. She was apparently beaten to death. This is a truly terrible way to die. There seems to be no indication that she (more…)
June 2, 2010
Various international news agencies are reporting that Joran van der Sloot, the principal suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, is now the prime suspect in the beating and stabbing death of twenty-one-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez, the daughter of Peruvian business man and racer Ricardo Flores.
Ms. Flores was last seen alive leaving a (more…)
May 31, 2010
May 30 marked the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. It was, I'm sure, an occasion of great sadness for her family and friends. And a source of frustration for those who would like to see some resolution.
The case is at a standstill. Last March, a husband and wife from Pennsylvania went (more…)
May 28, 2010
Were these murders serial killings? I don't know. There seem to be factors arguing otherwise.
1. The women, though all under forty, were pretty widely separated in age otherwise. Serial killers tend to stick to the same age group when hunting victims. Bernice Courtemanche, at seventeen, could have been the daughter of the oldest victim, (more…)
May 20, 2010
This is one of New England's biggest unsolved mysteries. Between 1981 and 1986, six young women were murdered in the vicinity of Route 91, the area straddling the Vermont-New Hampshire border. The first victim was Mary Elizabeth Critchley. The second was Bernice Courtemanche. The third was Ellen Fried. The fourth was Eva Morse. The fifth was Lynda (more…)
May 16, 2010
Still no news, as far as I know, on what has become of the mummified infant corpse stolen from Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire. One reasonable guess might be that the disinterment was a college student prank, and that Baby Mummy is now a prominent feature of the decor of some fraternity (more…)
May 11, 2010
According to some news reports, the body--which wasn't discovered for anywhere from several days to a few weeks after the murder--was lying on a blanket in a position that suggested the woman had been sharing it with someone. As far as I know, there were no signs the victim had attempted to fend off (more…)
May 7, 2010
On July 26, 1974, the nude and decomposing corpse of a woman was found on a beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The victim had been nearly decapitated; the left side of her skull was crushed, and her hands had been removed. The woman lay on a beach blanket, and what remained of her head rested on a (more…)
May 6, 2010
This story sounds like something out of William Faulkner. Or Chas. Addams.
Until 2006, a New Hampshire family, the Peaveys, had in their possession the mummified body of a baby boy. Charles Peavey said the family thought of the corpse, which they believed to be the remains of a stillborn son of a great-great uncle, (more…)
March 13, 2010
Too often the victims of crime--and I believe Natalee Holloway was a crime victim--are forgotten, or at least pushed to the background, particularly when the crime is an unsolved one. The actual mystery itself assumes the forefront: people are, naturally enough I suppose, obsessed with the whodunit/howdunit/whydunit aspect of the case. Everybody loves a (more…)
March 11, 2010
If the cable stations went wild with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the Internet went insane. In the summer of 2005, dozens of online forums devoted to "discussion" of the case sprang up like mushrooms (and toadstools) after a summer rain. Many of them are still in existence.
By the end of the summer of 2005, (more…)
March 2, 2010
Well, Joran van der Sloot's latest "confession" went as expected, although this time he managed to work up a few facial contortions intended, I suppose, to simulate grief and remorse, although he was apparently unable to squeeze out an authenticating tear.
Why is he doing this? If his conscience is bothering him--I sincerely doubt (more…)
February 27, 2010
All big cases attract people who claim to be in touch with the supernatural, and this one was no exception. One of my favorites was the self-proclaimed psychic who traveled to Aruba in the wake of Natalee's vanishing, and, one night, had a dream, or vision, in which Natalee appeared to her with the (more…)
February 26, 2010
This case fascinates me. Superficially, it doesn't appear complex. A young woman, vacationing in Aruba to celebrate her high school graduation, goes to a bar on the last night of her stay. There she meets up with a young man whom, according to some accounts, she'd encountered earlier that evening in a casino. Around closing time, the young woman leaves (more…)
August 8, 2009
A number of people have asked me this question. Let me quote from the preface to the book, since that pretty much answers it:
November 8, 1981, was one of those lead-gray days when the sky seems very close to the earth. I was visiting the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department to do research for what would (more…)