Joran Van der Sloot, the Dutch national who was arrested twice and later released in the disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway, has been named the prime suspect in the murder of a Peruvian woman, according to local reports.
Stephany Flores Ramirez, 21, the daughter of racecar driver and businessman Ricardo Flores, disappeared Friday and was found dead Wednesday morning in a hotel room in the country’s capital, Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reports.
Peruvian police and Ramirez’s father said she was last seen with Van der Sloot, 22, whose name was registered under the hotel room where Ramirez’s body was found. According to police reports, she was brutally stabbed and wrapped in blanket.
“I hope that this crime does not go unpunished,” Flores said outside his home Wednesday. He also pleaded with police to locate Van der Sloot, who left Peru on Monday and is now in Chile, according to Interpol officials.
Arrested and Set Free
Van der sloot, who was named a suspect after Holloway disappeared during a May 2005 graduation trip in Aruba, was arrested and charged with her murder. But without evidence to detain him further or bring him to trial, police released him. He was re-arrested in November 2007 – charged with manslaughter that time – but quickly set free.
Despite his apparent confession to the crime – a video back in February 2008 allegedly showed Van der Sloot telling a friend he disposed of Holloway’s body – Van der Sloot says he lied during the secret recording, which had been arranged by a Dutch crime reporter.
Though police have never been able to locate Holloway, the Alabama teen’s mom, Beth, says she’s still holding out hope for justice and a resolution.
“I feel like more information could certainly come at any time,” Beth recently told PEOPLE. “Hopefully one day I won t have to speculate. I just can’t wait for that day.”
• Reporting by JEFF TRUESDELL