A federal judge has revealed that convicted murderer Joran van der Sloot has confessed to killing Natalee Holloway.
On Wednesday, Judge Anna Manasco accepted van der Sloot’s guilty plea in an extortion case targeting Holloway’s family.
Van der Sloot shared a grisly account of the teen’s final moments, a transcript of his confession reveals.
He said dragged Holloway to the ocean when she refused his sexual advances on an Aruba beach.
He also admitted that he killed her by crushing her head with a cinderblock.
Van der Sloot recounted the incident in an October 3 interview, the judge revealed.
The killer revealed he grew angry with his victim’s resistance, grabbed the block, and said, “I smash her head in with it completely.”
“Her face basically, you know, collapses in,” he added.
“Even though it’s dark, I can see her face is collapsed in.”
After that, he said he dragged her into the water until he was about knees deep.
Van der Sloot said he pushed her off into the sea and then he walked home.
Van der Sloot apologized to Holloway’s family in court.
He has agreed to assist law enforcement and her relatives about her disappearance and submit to a polygraph test.
Holloway was 18 years old when she died.
She went missing during a senior trip to Aruba in May 2005 with high school classmates from Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.
The teen was last seen exiting a bar with van der Sloot.
Van der Sloot reportedly told the court “I am no longer the person that I was.”
“You have brutally murdered, in separate incidents, years apart, two young women who refused your sexual advances,” Judge Manasco told van der Sloot in court.
The judge was referencing the unrelated murder of another woman.
Manasco called the extortion and fraud charges “heinous.”
The judge noted that the killer knew the information he was selling was a lie to make a profit.
However, as part of the deal, she said federal prosecutors have agreed not to use his confession against him for any other purposes.
“After 18 years, Natalee’s case has been solved,” Holloway’s mother told reporters outside the courthouse immediately after the hearing.
“Joran van der Sloot is the killer.”
In a powerful victim impact statement minutes earlier, Holloway’s mother tore into van der Sloot.
She said the killer taunted her family and caused indescribable pain before turning to van der Sloot and saying: “You look like hell.”
Van der Sloot, a 36-year-old Dutch national, was charged with extortion and wire fraud in the United States.
He allegedly attempted to sell the mother information about her daughter’s body in 2010.
In a tearful statement, Beth Holloway said her life has been torn apart by the case.
She said she lost her job, teaching license, and tenure while searching for answers about her daughter’s disappearance.
“I implore this court to give you the maximum sentence possible and make financial restitution,” she said.
Van der Sloot was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with credit for time already served in U.S. custody after his arrival in June.
The court will allow his sentence to run concurrently with the ones he faces in Peru.
His new expected release date is June 9, 2043.
Judge Manasco ordered the U.S. Marshals to remove van der Sloot from American soil as soon as possible.
As the hearing began as scheduled, the judge confirmed with van der Sloot that he intended to change his plea to “guilty” and swore him in under oath.
Shortly after, a plea agreement had been filed with the court.
A separate court declared Holloway legally dead in 2012.
However, her remains have not been found nearly two decades later.
She would have turned 37 this coming Saturday.
Van der Sloot is expected to begin his U.S. punishment after returning to Peru.
He is scheduled to be released from prison in Peru, where he was convicted of the unrelated murder of another woman, in 2038.
“It’s a great day for justice,” said Beth Holloway’s lawyer, John Q. Kelly, as he arrived at the courthouse.
According to federal prosecutors, van der Sloot tried to extort the family for $250,000 and collected $25,000 upfront for purported information about the whereabouts of her remains.
The rest was to be paid once Holloway’s body was positively identified.
However, van der Sloot lied to Beth Holloway about where her daughter’s remains were located, according to U.S. prosecutors.
The alleged extortion scheme took place between March 29, 2010, and May 17, 2010.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges after a June hearing when he was temporarily transferred from Peru to the United States.
After allegedly attempting to carry out the extortion plot, van der Sloot traveled to Peru where he met 21-year-old Stephany Flores at a Lima casino owned by her father.
Van der Sloot admitted to killing Flores on May 30, 2010, in a fit of anger after she found out his connections to Natalee Holloway’s disappearance.
The extortion charges were filed by federal prosecutors in 2010.
However, Peruvian officials didn’t agree to release van der Sloot into American custody until May this year.
He initially pleaded not guilty to the extortion charges after arriving in Birmingham in June.
He was originally handed 28 years in a Peruvian prison for killing Flores.
He had more time added because of a prison drug smuggling scandal.
Van der Sloot has offered shifting explanations for Holloway’s final hours over the years.
In one example, he claimed that he shoved her into a rock, causing a head injury.
He has also claimed that his father, a prominent judge who died in 2010, helped hide the body.