Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Pesky Confession: Now Joran Van Der Sloot Is Trying Hard To Backpedal

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for another seeming parallel with Perugia.

When the police first confronted him, Van Der Sloot seemed eager to talk and to tell a version of the violent murder of Stephany Flores in which he was involved. Presumably to get a few breaks as the prisons in Peru sound like they are no party.

Van Der Sloot now seems to be trying hard to re-bottle that particular genie.

His own line here is that the confession he gave was on bad advice from his first lawyer, Ms Luz Romero Chinchay. He now has his current lawyer, Maximo Altez, suing her for “misrepresentation”.

However, a Lima Peru judge ruled several weeks ago that the confession itself was perfectly valid. And it looks like he will be facing some horrific new charges as well. 

For sex trafficking. The kidnapping and enslaving of women for sex. What he might have been trying to do with poor Natalie Holloway, who vanished while on vacation in Aruba.

It seems Van Der Sloot is sitting on some money but apparently not what he thinks he is worth. And (surprise, surprise) Van Der Sloot’s mom refuses to visit him in jail.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/21/10 at 03:27 PM in Various hypothesesThe psychologyThe legal followups


““If he did this, he must bear the consequences. I can not embrace him,” Anita van der Sloot said. “

What a shameful person Anita van der Sloot is. To me it seems that she and her husband covered up for their son when he killed Natalee Holloway. Naturally Joran van der Sloot feels guilty about his father’s death, in the end, that man was a judge and dedicated his life to do good until his murdering son came along. He probably helped disposing Natalee Holloway’s body or at least has had the knowledge that his son killed her. His sorrow and shame for what he had done culminated probably in the heart attack that ended his life.

Now Anita van der Sloot says she cannot embrace her son? Even though she maintains he is mentally ill? Wow. Joran van der Sloot and Amanda Knox have both the same problem: with those parents, who needs enemies?

Anita van der Sloot doesn’t want to visit her son in prison in Perú, because she knows that she is responsible for what happened in the first place. If they would have owned it then in Aruba, Joran van der Sloot could have received the treatment he needed in a more pleasant environment, close to his family. By avoiding prosecution for his crime they made matters worse, much worse. How selfish and self-serving.

Posted by Nell on 07/22/10 at 06:53 AM | #


I do not want to debate about Anita van der Sloot, but just say this:

I was once married to a guy who really, really, really would have benefited from a psychological treatment. The parents did not reveal me many horrible things he had done “not to scare me”. They also did not want their friends to know they had such a son, so silence was the moto.

He eventually tried to kill everyone of us, almost. “He wants to kill what he loves most” told me the mother with a heart-shaped mouth. This was supposed to make me feel well. But when I wanted to have him treated, there was nothing I could do as they would keep him one or two weeks and say he could leave and just take his medications - which he promised and did not of course. Sometimes we are left without power in front of weird laws.

Joran could have been treated if there had been a law allowing the parents having him put in a facility even if he did not want to. Such power did not exist, I assume.

Posted by Patou on 07/22/10 at 01:32 PM | #

@Nell: My impression of the Van der Sloot family is very different then yours.

Joran’s father never came across to me as a smart man. In the interviews I have seen with him present, he comes across as a sneaky, slow speaking man who, indeed, has something to hide. No wonder he died of a heart attack. He was not a strong man who could justify what he had done to himself.

He was not even a judge yet, while he was already in his late forties when he was working as a judge in training on Aruba, not known as the place of the most brilliant magistrates. I also don´t believe he has dedicated his life to do good. Being part of a govermental branch on a small island , where all important people know each other and where it is very easy for conflicting interests to occur, requires extremely strong character, which I don´t think he possessed.

Joran’s mother, on the other hand, seems to be a strong, hard working lady, a teacher, like Edda Mellas,  who was the one that the whole family was depending on, like many women on Aruba, where most kids grow up in a household without their biological father present and the family life and economic well being evolves around the mother.

Obviously, with a hard working mother and a father that was pretty much a student, Joran was left without supervision. Who lets their seventeen year old kid, during the last weeks of high school, in which important exams need to be passed, spend his evenings until late in casinos where hard liquor flows abundantly?

Obviously, his parents did not set many limits and on top of that, his father used his influence to frustrate the police investigation. Of course, how can the good looking white kid of hard working parents commit such a crime…

I don´t think Anita van der Sloot is the kind of woman who would help cover up such a crime. I´m sure she did everything in her power to hold the family together, but I don´t think she would ¨dirty¨ her hands. She seems to be the down to earth Dutch mother who wants justice to be done.

She invited Natalee Holloway´s mother in her home, showed a lot of compassion and she herself was suffering a lot of intimidation by the Holloways, who would enter the school where she was working, yelling and placing posters, accusing Joran of kidnapping. Very hysterical. To a reasonable, down to earth Dutch person, like Joran´s mother, who, like most Dutch people, has a lot of confidence in the institutions, that is not done.

Bett Holloway did not do her daughter a favor. Her hysterical behavior made the quiet Aruban community and the many down to earth Dutch people that work and live there feel very uneasy. It has certainly not helped her case.

The fear for a strong American legal team of a wealthy family must have caused everybody involved in Aruba to do whatever they can to cover their ass.

Just like the Knox/Mellas clan has done in Italy, the sympathy for them dried up very soon. Even though in the Holloway case the scandalous family was representing the victim, their behavior was not appreciated.

This is what makes me respect the Kercher family so much. With more dignity than anyone could have, they put their fate in their Italian lawyers and the Italian justice system. How would the outcome of the legal process have been had they marched the streets of Perugia, accusing police of being not thorough and low, bringing their own foreign legal team, threatening local officials with connections in the US government, frustrating those involved? I don´t think the three perpetrators would have received such high sentences.

To me, Joran’s disrespectful behavior towards women was caused by the lack of a strong father. Like many Aruban kids, he resents the dominant mother, on whom he depends for love, food and everything else at the same time, and he sees the men of the community hopping from one woman to the other, having kids with several women and leaving the mothers with all the responsibilities. The lack of a strong father present causes the mothers to project their love and need for a strong man that needs to be pleased on their sons, who grow up to be spoiled individuals who are accustomed to receive love, no matter their behavior.

Posted by saskia on 07/22/10 at 04:44 PM | #

Hi Saskia. Terrific insight into the society of an island community there, which to me rings sadly only too typical. They are rarely the paradises they may seem from the outside, and very tough to keep on an even keel.

Seems to me you have it exactly right on Joran’s mother too. I don’t think we know that she had any part in the cover-up, and as you say she probably despised it to the extent that she knew about it. She is now a widow in her fifties and nearly bankrupt due to a weak husband and a rampaging son.

[Added: On this just above, I am not so sure any more. Mojo posted new information on her which makes her look less good. See below at “Posted by mojo on 07/23/10 at 07:02 AM “]

With regard to respect for institutions, they were respected here in the US a lot more before Ronald Reagan than they ever were since. This has caused no end of problems in public-service recruitment and morale, and it has fed back into problems like weak management of the economy and the environment. “It’s your money, it’s your money” was George W Bush’s mantra as he chopped public agencies to the bone and drove up by 3 or 4 times the gigantic twin deficits which now help destabilize the world economy. 

This destructive anti-institutions mindset helped to open the way to the rabid sliming of the Italian officials and institutions in Meredith’s case by people like the woolly-minded and stupidly destructive Bruce Fisher who seemingly hasn’t the slightest idea about how institutions really work and who rants about an Italian justice system that in reality is the exact opposite of what he claims.

We undermine public institutions only at our own great peril. That way is the way to The Lord Of The Flies - where by the way the adolescent groupies might have felt right at home! In the turbulent and very over-crowded, slow-growth world coming up, strong and trusted institutions will be needed far more-so, not less-so.

Anyone with children who will have to live there should be aware of how much hurt to those children people with anti-institution mindsets have already done.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/22/10 at 06:16 PM | #

Hmmm. Someone now tells me that Bruce Fisher who runs some FOA website claims to have a daughter. I have never paid much interest in him, but one has to wonder why he is slobbering kinkily over Amanda Knox while at the same time undermining those public institutions that are the bedrock of the future of his daughter and, when she has them, her own kids.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/22/10 at 06:54 PM | #

I don’t have words to describe Van Der Sloot. I get offended whenever I see his name and, to be honest, and with the greatest respect to you, Peter, I can’t see how this is relevant to Knox. I think many people can find in their hearts a smidgen of sympathy for Amanda Knox. Guilty she certainly is, and I despise what she and her cohorts did, but I actually bear her no ill-will and I hope she does her time and then has a long and happy (and productive, and law-abiding) life. She is not a person who, in my view, is entirely undeserving of sympathy. I cannot find it in my heart to say the same about Van Der Sloot.

Posted by Janus on 07/22/10 at 09:58 PM | #

Hi Janus. We got interested not because of any similarity of the crimes or, in most respects, the persons.

It was because a comparison was first made by Barbie Nadeau and others between the two in terms of reveling in their prominence. I think you might agree that they both tend to do it, as increasingly do others in other murder cases.

In Knox’s case it tends to drive a new wave of media stories every few weeks (there has been a new batch just in the past few days) which re-energize a hard-line no-holds-barred movement that demonizes many Italian officials for framing her to save face or because they don’t like Americans.

Resulting in Knox at least not being exactly short of sympathizers. Someone emailed just a day or two ago that literally dozens of times interviewers have included “How is Amanda doing?” in a way that they would not do with, say, Charles’ Manson’s mom. Virtually never is Meredith in the interviews other than in passing, almost as an inconvenient editorial detail.

Whatever drives the unceasing urge for prominence (and we were warned two years ago by psychologists that it would happen) it is having two very bad effects.

First, and most important to us, it is absolutely not easy for anyone associated with the victims to endure, and we know that Knox’s courtroom demeanor and especially her very callous second day on the stand were very painful to a lot of people.

Second, it is also seriously undermining of public institutions which matter, and which need public trust for their legitimacy and effectiveness (comments above are on this), and by extension the relations between two nations that really should be getting along very well.

We have been pressing for the framing of the case and the participants to adjust to where it ought to be.

That is for Knox to be seen as a person who is guilty of torture and a very cruel murder, while also being someone who could and should have been helped long before she ever went to Perugia.

And one who now should be restrained and preferably ignored by the media while she does the time she was handed and perhaps the treatment - if there is one; the jury still seems to be out on that.

With that re-framing, any parallels with Van Der Sloot would seem to go away.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/22/10 at 11:32 PM | #

Thank you for that persuasive explanation, Peter, rendered with your usual eloquence. And yes, I hadn’t considered that “how is Amanda doing?” line. Vincent Bugliosi writes in his book on the OJ Simpson case how disgusted he was when Larry King’s first question to Robert Shapiro was “how’s OJ?”, but that, in fairness to King, was before the Simpson verdict. It appalls many of us here in Europe that so much of the American media is playing the “innocent abroad” line about Knox, almost as if she is another Natalie Holloway, rather than a convicted murderer. Thanks to you and other American people who contribute to this site, it’s a relief to see that not every American follows the media-line.

Posted by Janus on 07/23/10 at 12:23 AM | #



I’m grateful you survived the lies and false pride of family members who concealed the terrible dangers of their disordered son. It’s often the case, secrets are powerful and shame is a driving force, but it is inexcusable when a matter of life and death. You sound like a patient person. You are lucky to be alive, what an escape.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/23/10 at 12:55 AM | #

Thanks Janus. Meredith of course was headed to the international institutions. As her father John told us all last summer, those in Brussels for a start.

She understood.

There are many like her in United Nations development. I was in program management and evaluation but I volunteered to do new-entry training and it was a lot of fun to interact with many people just like her.

We of course encountered those who wanted to bring public institutions down. While we were occasionally amused at the protestors around the meetings of the World Bank and the IMF (which are parts of the UN) in general their ignorant, dishonest, paranoid destructiveness was a matter of deep concern.

As I wrote above: Anyone with children who will have to live there [in the messy coming future] should be aware of how much hurt to those children people with anti-institution mindsets have already done.

Oh and remember Timothy McVey That is the same mindset as those who slime Italian institutions like Bruce Fisher, only on steroids,

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/23/10 at 02:59 AM | #

There is a good reason that people cannot been treated or put away against their will. I personally don’t necessarily believe that the van der Sloot family really tried to treat Joran van der Sloot; so far there is only Anita van der Sloot’s assurance she tried. That might just be an “excuse” to gain more sympathy or maybe it’s true. Until I haven’t seen proof, I am going to doubt it. He was over 18 years old, so her influence was limited. The damage was already done long before.

PS I am very sorry to hear about your experience with your husband. I understand fully well what you are saying. I once knew an older couple who had one son who was mentally ill. He would become very aggressive and sometimes violent and refused to take his medication. Once he threw his father through a glass door and kicked him while he was in pain laying on the floor. Still, they wanted to keep him home, trying to give him a “good life” and not leave him locked up in a clinic. While I understood their position as parents, I must say this man was a time bomb. I don’t know what happened to him/them. The people in town knew about his condition and treated him accordingly and helped the couple where they could. Still, one day his parents won’t be around anymore and then what?

Joran van der Sloot’s father is reported in all articles I’ve read to be a judge, not to be a judge in training. I haven’t read everything about the Natalee Holloway case, so when you say that, I believe you. It was also reported that he used his influence in order to frustrate the investigation/prosecution of his son for the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. If he didn’t die over having disposed her body himself, than probably because of the knowledge that his son in fact was involved in her disappearance. It seems that we agree in this point. When I said “dedicated his life to do good” I should have said instead “probably dedicated his life to do good”. I just assume that someone who is or becomes a judge has a slight interest in what he does. Since Judge Heavy we know this is not always true. If he felt guilty for covering up for his son’s crime it at least shows that he wasn’t all bad and that’s what I meant.

Regarding Anita van der Sloot I personally do not believe that she wasn’t aware that her son was involved in the Natalee Holloway disappearance and if her husband helped their son to get off the charges, she must have been aware of that too, but she seems to deny that. To deny the obvious makes her look weak, not strong in my eyes. After all what has happened, she says that she cannot embrace her son. I think this is a horrible thing to say for a mother, above all because she herself says he is mentally ill (and therefore not fully responsible - not that I believe that, but she obviously does or wants you to believe that). If my son would be a murderer, I certainly wouldn’t be happy about it. But I cannot imagine myself NOT flying to Perú and NOT offering my support and saying that I would NOT embrace him. This is something that makes me wonder if she feels guilty. I am pretty sure she does. What makes all my warning flags go up is that Joran van der Sloot’s mother says herself that her son feels guilty, because of the death of his father. Now why would that be?

Posted by Nell on 07/23/10 at 10:23 AM | #

I too believe that discussion of these cases are helpful in reframing this case.

Meredith Kercher was tortured and left to die in a locked room. Her killers, not least Knox, did their utmost to derail the course of justice. Knox is not the victim of this crime. She is a deeply troubled young woman who spiraled into drug taking, risky behaviors and violence.

But she’s not the victim and she should not be portrayed as such. Neither is she a reality star.

Incidentally apparently van der slot also has his white knights:  “Since his incarceration, he has only given interviews to De Telegraaf, saying that he received a number of marriage proposals in his cell, including one from a woman who wants to have his child”

(ref from wikipedia citing interview with dutch newspaper).

Posted by lilly on 07/23/10 at 11:27 AM | #

Nell, sorry, Saskia is right. Paulus was a judge in training and sometime teacher. As far as Anita, her involvement with Rene van Gielen and the crockumentary made speaks volumes to me. I have been following this case from day one and the behavior of both Joran’s parents has been disgusting. Her “performance” on the Pauw & Witteman show in the Netherlands even after her son threw a glass of wine at Peter de Vries was equally telling. The fact that she and her husband saw an ex-con drug dealer Patrick van der Em as a mentor for their son was again indicative of their set of values.

His current lawyer wants his history out so that he can try to wrench some sort of mitigating mental state plea for his client, but that is the last thing his mother wants. She said so…she and her husband wanted to get him help for Joran but decided against it because of how it would appear.  Very, very Dutch.

Posted by mojo on 07/23/10 at 02:02 PM | #

Hi Mojo. Thanks for the additional info on Anita Van Der Sloot. I added a mention of your comment to my comment that is fourth from the top here.

Not looking quite so good, though her role still seems to me less clearcut than her late husband’s. Maybe Saskia has more?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/23/10 at 04:49 PM | #

As Peter says, the damage to Joran was done long before his involvement with Natalee Holloway. After everything that has happened to him because of the Holloway case, Joran´s ego must have been blown up beyond any normal proportions.

He got away with involvement in murder. The Aruban goverment got close to bring the case to trial twice and failed. He has been in the media for more than five years now. He is an infamous reality star. He hasn´t done anything in his life he can be proud of, but everybody knows him.

Just imagine Amanda Knox had gotten away with her involvement in Meredith´s death. Where would she be now? I bet you she´d be in the media the whole time. Joran has confessed he can turn all the media attention to his advantage, for what a confession of a liar is worth…

I did not start following news about Joran until his confession to Patrick van der Eem. It is clear that Joran does not have anything in his life that gives him an interesting alternative. His ¨fame¨is his biggest card, so that´s the one he will be playing.

Unfortunately he is so full of himself, that he thought he would get away with murder again. Fortunately that didn´t happen. I hope he´ll be locked up for life in Peru.

For his mother I can mostly only feel sorry. With the evidence against him in the murder of Stephany Flores, she knows there´s nothing she can do for him. Regarding Natalee Holloway, Anita van der Sloot could maintain some doubt about her son´s actual involvement in her death, but this time there is no doubt in her mind he is guilty.

If nothing she has done the past five years has helped Joran make something good out of his life. What can she do right now? Spending half an hour with him in a dirty Peruvian jail? Getting yelled at when she arrives to peru and walks the streets of Lima?She must be on the verge of a nervous break down. She must feel so much anger. I think she is protecting herself and by now has given up hope for her son.

Posted by saskia on 07/23/10 at 05:17 PM | #

I can feel no sorrow whatsoever for Knox or Van Der Sloot and no respect for their families.  Knox and Van Der Sloot violently killed others and with no justifiable reason.  Their families chose to cover for them and defy and deny justice, thereby making them accessories after the fact, to my way of thinking.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 07/24/10 at 05:55 AM | #

Maybe initially Anita van der Sloot could morally get away denying her sons involvement in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.

Thanks to all evidence left by Joran, there is no way she can deny his involvement in the murder of Stephany Flores. She therefore has decided not visit him as of yet.

She clearly has drawn a line. Her son is out of control. Why would she choose to be destroyed by him as well? She has two more sons, that seem to be doing well. I think she realized she´d better be there for them.

I do feel sorry for her. If two of her sons are normal, nice guys, even though they enjoyed the same upbringing, Joran obviously has a mental disorder.

Also, by not visiting him, she is telling the world and him that she condemns his act and has stopped supporting them. She has even stated he should be punished for what he has done, if he has killed Stephany Flores.

I don´t think we will live the day we hear Edda Mellas say such a thing about her daughter.

Posted by saskia on 07/24/10 at 09:10 PM | #
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