January 13th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Van der Sloot sentenced to 28 years in prison for Peru murder

Joran van der Sloot on Friday was sentenced to 28 years in a Peruvian prison for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores.

With credit for time served, his sentence would end on June 10, 2038.

He was also ordered to pay about $74,500 to the victim's family.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Dutch national confessed to the charges of "qualified murder" and simple robbery.

It was an apparent attempt to win a more lenient sentence, using a plea called an "anticipated conclusion of the process" under Peruvian law.


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Filed under: Alabama • Aruba • Courts • Crime • Joran van der Sloot • Justice • Natalee Holloway • Peru
December 1st, 2011
09:36 AM ET

Companion's Aruba disappearance 'will weigh heavily on me,' man says

An American man who was held in Aruba for nearly four months in connection with the disappearance of his traveling companion insisted Thursday he had nothing to do with her vanishing, but said it will "weigh heavily on me for a very long time."

"I feel as if a person I cared about, a companion ... has disappeared on my watch," Gary Giordano said on ABC's "Good Morning America" in his first interview since being released from custody in Aruba earlier this week.

Giordano, 50, had been held in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner of Maryland, who was last seen August 2. Giordano told authorities the two were snorkeling when he signaled to Gardner to swim back. When he reached the beach, he told police, Gardner was nowhere to be found and has not been seen since.

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Filed under: Aruba
November 25th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Prosecutors can't hold man in missing-woman case, Aruban judge rules

A judge in Aruba has turned down prosecutors' request to hold American Gary Giordano for 30 more days while authorities continue to investigate the August disappearance of his traveling companion, Robyn Gardner, his attorney told CNN Friday.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime
Man detained in missing-woman case ordered to stay in Aruban jail
Robyn Gardner was last seen in August on a beach on the Caribbean Island of Aruba.
October 28th, 2011
02:45 PM ET

Man detained in missing-woman case ordered to stay in Aruban jail

An American man detained in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of a Maryland woman in Aruba has been ordered to remain in police custody for another 30 days as authorities continue their investigation, Aruba's public prosecutor announced Friday in a press release.

An Aruban judge issued the order Friday for Gary Giordano, who was arrested on August 5 "on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance and death" of his traveling companion, Robyn Gardner, three days earlier, the prosecutor said.

Giordano, a 50-year-old Gaithersburg, Maryland, resident, has told investigators that he went snorkeling with Gardner on August 2 and that she failed to return to shore with him as they snorkeled at the southern end of the island.

Giordano's attorney had argued at a court hearing Friday that his client's "life is being destroyed" and that he should be released from custody.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime
Aruban court denies U.S. suspect's request to be released from jail
October 17th, 2011
12:29 PM ET

Aruban court denies U.S. suspect's request to be released from jail

An Aruban court has denied American Gary Giordano's request to be released from jail, a spokeswoman for Aruban prosecutors said Monday.

Giordano, who is being held in connection with the disappearance of traveling companion Robyn Gardner, 35, was taken into custody August 5 at the airport in Aruba as he waited for a flight back to the United States. He has been held for 70 days.

Giordano has maintained the pair went snorkeling behind the Nanki Country Club on the southern end of the island and that Gardner vanished in the water as he returned to shore. Authorities say Giordano was the beneficiary of a $1.5 million accidental death insurance policy on Gardner, taken out just days before their trip.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime
September 19th, 2011
02:59 PM ET

Aruban authorities to re-enact American's woman's last known steps

Aruban officials plan to spend Monday afternoon tracing the last steps of an American woman last seen six weeks ago in the Caribbean nation, an official with the national prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors had been waiting to stage the event when weather conditions were similar to those on August 2, when Maryland resident Robyn Gardner disappeared, said Ann Angela of the prosecutor's office.

Gary Giordano, the man Gardner came to Aruba with, is in custody and has been the only person identified by authorities as a suspect in the case.

Re-enactments are common in the Dutch legal system, like the one done while authorities probed the disappearance six years ago of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, Angela said. Aruba is an independent entity within the Netherlands government.

The missing woman and Giordano, a 50-year-old from Gaithersburg, Maryland, arrived on the island on July 31 from the United States, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say Giordano told authorities he was snorkeling with Gardner, 35, on Baby Beach on Aruba's western tip and signaled to her to swim back. According to a transcript of a police interview, obtained by CNN, he said he feared for his life when he signaled to Gardner and didn't look for her as he swam for shore. When he reached the beach, Gardner was nowhere to be found, Giordano said, according to authorities. Search efforts for the missing woman are ongoing.

Earlier this month, a three-judge Aruban panel denied Giordano's appeal of a ruling keeping him behind bars for another 60 days as the investigation continues.

- CNN's Martin Savidge contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Aruba
Father asks Natalee Holloway be declared dead
Natalee Holloway disappeared on Aruba in 2005.
September 14th, 2011
01:11 PM ET

Father asks Natalee Holloway be declared dead

The father of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who vanished while on a graduation trip to Aruba in 2005, has asked a court to declare his daughter dead.

Dave Holloway filed a petition for the presumption of death of persons missing more than five years with Jefferson County Probate Court in Alabama on June, 21, chief clerk Jackie Rhodes confirmed to CNN.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Natalee Holloway
September 7th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

American held in woman's disappearance in Aruba to remain in jail

A three-judge Aruban panel on Wednesday denied American Gary Giordano's appeal of a ruling keeping him behind bars for another 60 days as authorities investigate the disappearance of his American traveling companion, his attorney said.

Attorney Michael Lopez said Giordano was sad and disappointed with the ruling. Giordano is being detained improperly, he said, and his rights are being violated. Giordano left the hearing with a shirt covering his head.

On Tuesday, authorities on the Caribbean island questioned Giordano for an eighth time in connection with the disappearance of Robyn Gardner.

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Filed under: Aruba
August 17th, 2011
12:33 PM ET

Aruban authorities probe insurance policy in missing woman case

Editor's note: Tune in to “Nancy Grace” at 8 p.m. ET on HLN for updates from Aruba on an American woman who recently disappeared from the same area that Natalee Holloway vanished from in 2005.

The suspect in the disappearance of a Maryland woman during a vacation in Aruba had taken out a travel insurance policy on her, an island official said Wednesday.

It is too early to conclude whether the insurance policy was a possible motive for the disappearance of Robyn Gardner, Solicitor General Taco Stein told CNN.

Giordano's lawyer, Michael Lopez, has not returned repeated CNN calls for comment regarding the insurance policy.

According to Aruban prosecutors, the missing woman and the suspect, Gary Giordano, arrived on the island July 31 from the United States. Gardner was last seen August 2 near Baby Beach, on the west side of the island.

Giordano told authorities that he had been snorkeling with Gardner when he signaled to her to swim back, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office. He said Gardner was nowhere to be found when he reached the beach, according to prosecutors.


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Filed under: Aruba
August 15th, 2011
07:33 PM ET

Aruban judge orders U.S. man held 16 more days

A judge ruled Monday that there was enough evidence to continue holding a U.S. man in connection with the case of a missing American woman, Aruba's solicitor general said.

Gary Giordano, 50, was arrested by Aruban police on August 5, three days after Robyn Gardner, 35, was last seen.

The decision to hold Giordano for 16 more days was issued after a jailhouse hearing Monday afternoon, Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Maryland
August 15th, 2011
09:28 AM ET

Familiar spotlight on Aruba after disappearance stirs up local frustration

The disappearance of Robyn Gardner has brought the international media back to Aruba, and Arubans aren’t happy about it. After the prolonged investigation without resolution in the Natalee Holloway case the summer of 2005, tourism took a hit. The locals are nervous and not keen to see us again.

There is no way to keep a low profile on an island when you’re CNN. A photograph of us reporting in front of the prosecutor’s office was on the front page of the island’s most popular paper, The Diario, the day after we landed.

Since then, other networks have followed us to Aruba. NBC’s satellite dish now sprouts from the hotel grounds. An unnamed television team was having lunch near the site where Gardner reportedly vanished while snorkeling. Once the manager of the restaurant knew they were members of the media, he threw them out, refusing their money for the meal they had already been served. It’s a very strong reaction for a place whose maroon and white license plates boast “One Happy Island.”

That’s an extreme example. I have been here many times, and always, unfortunately, for bad news. I was here for much of the Holloway frenzy, but even now, I find most here are extremely polite and friendly. However, if you ask them if they know anything about the current case and would they be willing to be interviewed, people grow silent. Twice my requests were met with the same response. One person said “here is someone who could talk" to me while writing down a name and phone number. Only it was the number for the island’s solicitor general, and I already had it.


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Filed under: Aruba
August 14th, 2011
04:58 PM ET

Lawyer says Aruba should let American go

The lawyer for a U.S. man being held in Aruba in connection with the case of a missing American woman urged authorities on Sunday to release his client.

Gary Giordano, 50, was arrested by Aruban police on August 5, three days after Robyn Gardner, 35, was last seen.

This weekend, authorities said that crews searching for the missing woman have looked in Aruban phosphate mines.

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Filed under: Aruba • Maryland
August 12th, 2011
09:54 PM ET

FBI searches Maryland home of man suspected in missing woman case

FBI agents on Friday night searched the Maryland home of the suspect in the recent disappearance of an American woman in Aruba, an agent said.

The search is occurring in the Gaithersburg residence of Gary Giordano, who is currently being held in an Aruban jail, FBI Special Agent Rich Wolf told CNN.

Agents, wearing vests that said FBI and carrying empty cardboard and plastic boxes, arrived about 8:40 p.m. Friday. About 15 unmarked cars could be seen on the street, as well as a Montgomery County police vehicle.

Supervisory Special Agent Philip Celestini, who was at the residence, declined to comment further on the search, citing the active investigation.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Maryland • U.S.
November 23rd, 2010
12:02 PM ET

Jawbone in Aruba doesn't belong to Natalee Holloway

Tests were done to see a bone that was found was human -- and if it was a match to Natalee Holloway.

[Updated at 12:02 p.m.] A portion of a jawbone recently found on a beach in Aruba is human - but is not Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who was last seen on the island in 2005, authorities said Tuesday.

Authorities said dental records used to compare the small amount of the DNA on the bone did not match. Solicitor General Taco Stein said there was a molar present in the jawbone and dental records determined Holloway had her molars taken out - ruling out the possibility that the bone was a part of her remains.

"Based on dental records, it can be ruled out that the bone fragment came from Natalee Holloway," the Aruban Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

Stein also added that officials had "no new leads" in the Holloway case.

The tests, conducted at the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague, Netherlands, were to first determine whether the jawbone found on an island beach is that of a human or that of an animal. If the bone is human, authorities said, they would attempt to determine through DNA testing if it belonged to Holloway. The Alabama 18-year-old was last seen on the island in 2005.


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Filed under: Aruba • Natalee Holloway
November 16th, 2010
10:48 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:

Longtime Hollywood publicist killed: Ronni Chasen, 64, was gunned down on Sunset Boulevard early Tuesday, just minutes after she left a star-studded party to celebrate the premiere of the movie "Burlesque," police said.  Chasen died when "multiple shots" were fired into her Mercedes, police said.

Royal nuptials: Britain's Prince William asked his girlfriend Kate Middleton to marry him, he said Tuesday, setting up the most anticipated royal wedding since Prince Charles and Diana, princess of Wales, got married nearly 30 years ago. William gave Diana's sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring to his fiancee when he popped the question during a vacation in Kenya last month, he said.

GOP senators snip earmarks: The GOP caucus in the Senate agreed Tuesday night to ban earmarks, a policy House Republicans have in place and are expected to keep in the new Congress. The idea of prohibiting members from designating funding for specific projects in their states or districts is popular with reform-minded deficit hawks, but it has traditionally been opposed by some congressional veterans.

They killed Kenny, now this? Just a few weeks after apologizing for lifting lines from a parody of "Inception," the producers of "South Park," along with Comedy Central and parent company Viacom, have been sued for allegedly infringing on the copyright of the YouTube viral video "What What (in the Butt)," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Bone tested in Holloway case: A jawbone found on an Aruban beach will undergo forensic testing to determine whether it is human and, if so, whether it belongs to Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, last seen on the island in 2005, authorities said Tuesday. "They are testing for a DNA match," said Aruban prosecutor Peter Blanken.

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Filed under: Aruba • Budget • Celebrity • Most Popular • Natalee Holloway • Politics
November 16th, 2010
07:40 AM ET

Bone found in Aruba tested for Holloway connection

Natalee Holloway disappeared in 2005 while on a vacation with her Alabama classmates.

Dutch forensic experts are analyzing a bone found on a beach in Aruba to see whether it's human and if so, whether it came from missing American teen Natalee Holloway, a Dutch newspaper reports.

"We are investigating some bone material sent from Aruba from the prosecutor's office," Inge Oevering, spokesperson for the NFI forensic institute in The Hague, Netherlands, told CNN. "We are trying to identify whether these bones are human. Once we establish if the bones are human we will try to get a DNA profile. All the findings will be sent back to the prosecutor's office, who will decide whether they are released."

The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said the bone was a jawbone and was found near Aruba's Phoenix hotel, a location previously noted by Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in Holloway's disappearance.

He is in jail in Peru, charged with murdering another young woman.

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Filed under: Aruba • Crime • Natalee Holloway • Netherlands
June 17th, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Holloway, Flores families in touch over possible case links

The family of Natalee Holloway, left, has been in touch with the family of Stefany Flores, right, whose cases may be linked by suspect Joran van der Sloot

Missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway's mother talked to the family of a murdered Peruvian woman whose case may be linked to her daughter's, the Peruvian family told CNN sister network In Session.

Beth Holloway gave the Flores family her "sincere, sincere condolences" when they spoke for the first time Wednesday, Enrique Flores told In Session's Jean Casarez.

Flores's sister Stefany was killed May 30. Joran van der Sloot, who is being held in connection with the killing, was twice arrested but never charged in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in 2005.

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Filed under: Aruba • Joran van der Sloot • Justice • Peru
June 15th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Aruba, Peru to swap notes on Joran van der Sloot

Officials hope any details they share involving Joran van der Sloot, middle, and the murder of Stephany Flores, right, will help in the Natalee Holloway investigation.

Aruban and Peruvian authorities have agreed to "help each other" in the murder investigation of Stephany Flores - in which Joran Van der Sloot is the prime suspect, Aruban government spokesman Taco Stein told CNN Tuesday.

Investigators hope the cooperation will lead to new information about the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in 2005 in Aruba. Van der Sloot is also a suspect in that case.

Following a phone meeting with Peruvian judge Carlos Morales on Tuesday morning, Stein said Peruvian authorities have agreed to allow Aruban investigators into Peru once a formal request has been made. He did not indicate when that more formal request would take place or when Aruban investigators are expected to arrive in Peru, but described the meeting as a "positive start" to information sharing.


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Filed under: Aruba • Peru
June 11th, 2010
09:52 AM ET

On the Radar: Gulf oil, van der Sloot, teen sailor, World Cup

Gulf oil disaster - Researchers have doubled estimates of how much oil has been spewing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, reporting Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons) a day may have escaped for weeks. Well owner BP has been able to capture a varying percentage of that oil, first with a siphon inserted into the well riser and since June 3 with a cap that allowed workers to draw nearly 16,000 barrels to a ship on the surface Wednesday.

The change in estimates comes as a delegation of U.S. senators head to the heart of coastal Louisiana on Friday to assess the damage caused by the growing BP oil disaster. Sens. Benjamin Cardin, David Vitter, Jeff Merkley and Barbara Mikulski will be in Grand Isle, Louisiana, one of the early areas hit by the slick created by the underwater gusher.


June 9th, 2010
01:44 PM ET

Source: FBI agent passed money to van der Sloot

[Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET] A representative for Natalee Holloway's mother who paid $25,000 for information on the whereabouts of her remains last month was an undercover FBI agent, a federal law enforcement official told CNN.

However, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham, Alabama, said Wednesday that the FBI did not supply the money.

"Some news accounts have suggested that the FBI provided $25,000 in funds that were transmitted to van der Sloot. This is incorrect. The funds involved were private funds," the FBI and U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.

An Interpol document says van der Sloot faces criminal charges in Alabama because he allegedly tried to extort money from Holloway's mother. U.S. authorities filed extortion and wire fraud charges against van der Sloot this week.

The FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham arranged for a meeting where van der Sloot was paid $10,000 in cash and another $15,000 in a wire transfer for information van der Sloot allegedly promised would lead to Holloway's body in Aruba, a source familiar with the case said. The meeting took place in May, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham.

Read the full CNN.com story


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Filed under: Aruba • Joran van der Sloot • Justice • Peru