Beth Holloway, Natalee Holloway‘s mother, expressed relief on Wednesday that she could finally achieve closure about how Natalee died. After 18 years as the prime suspect in the teen’s murder, Joran van der Sloot finally confessed that he beat Natalie to death on a beach in Aruba after she rejected his sexual advances. She was on a high school graduation trip at the time. He then dragged her body into the water and went home and watched pornography, according to Daily Beast.

“For us to finally put this to rest, and [the mystery] being over … it’s better than closure because our never-ending nightmare had to end,” Beth said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And we are so grateful that we can say that today. That it is over. And that is getting justice for Natalee.”

Van der Sloot gave his confession during a proffer interview made as part of his plea deal confessing to wire fraud and extortion. Van der Sloot had attempted to blackmail Holloway’s family in exchange for details about her death. “As far as I’m concerned, Natalee’s case is solved,” Beth wrote in a statement, which she also read at the press conference. “It is over. Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer. … This was all verified by a comprehensive and conclusive polygraph test.”

Despite the confession, van der Sloot cannot be tried for Holloway’s murder, likely because it was in a proffer interview and provides him some immunity in exchange for his plea deal. Proffers are known colloquially as “queen for a day” deals because of the protection they provide.

Nevertheless, Beth Holloway said she’s at peace with it. “I am satisfied knowing once and for all that he did it, he did it alone, and he disposed of her alone,” she said in her statement. “Details of his brutal confession will be forthcoming when the proffer is made public.”

At the press conference, Beth said that she did not know if Aruban authorities would reopen the case and try van der Sloot for murder.

She also remembered Natalee as a girl full of promise. “Natalee was very bright, very smart, [a] dedicated young lady,” she said. “She was on her way to college. She was headed to medical school after that, and I have no doubt she would have made it all the way. So we love her, we miss her very much, and we wake up every morning with thoughts of Natalee.”

For the plea deal, which was a long time coming, van der Sloot was extradited to the U.S. from Peru, where he’s serving 28 years in prison for killing a Peruvian woman named Stephany Flores. He’d initially pleaded not guilty to the extortion and wire fraud charges in 2010, two years before Natalee was officially declared dead. She had last been seen at about 1:30 a.m. on May 30, 2005, getting into a car with him and two brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. Authorities in Aruba released them due to a lack of evidence. The trio was charged with involuntary manslaughter but again were freed.

In 2010, van der Sloot told Beth that he’d show her Natalee’s remains in exchange for a quarter of a million dollars; she paid him $25,000 in advance but found no remains where he’d indicated they’d be, leading to his indictment. A judge sentenced van der Sloot to 20 years in prison for the extortion and wire fraud. He’ll likely begin the sentence after serving the rest of his time for killing Flores.

At the press conference, Beth said she felt confident that van der Sloot had acted alone in killing Holloway.

Natalee’s father, Dave, wrote in an impact statement read in court, and reviewed by Rolling Stone, that he felt ambivalent about the revelation. “While I am satisfied that the defendant murdered Natalee alone, I have no doubt others provided him with aid and assistance in preventing is from being able to return Natalee home,” he wrote. “Compounding our family’s tragedy, others prioritized concealing Natalee’s murder and protecting selfish economic and personal interests over what is right and true. While it may not be in a court of law, I believe their judgment is still to come.” In the statement, he called van der Sloot “evil personified.” (Dave and Beth divorced in 1993.)

In court on Wednesday, van der Sloot apologized to Beth and said he was now a Christian. At the press conference, Beth said she did not believe he had changed. She told him in court that he’d “terminated her dreams, her potential, her possibilities, when you bludgeoned her to death in 2005,” according to Daily Beast.

“You didn’t get what you wanted from Natalee, your sexual satisfaction, so you brutally killed her,”  she said. “I paid my daughter’s killer money. That’s shocking. I don’t think anyone can really wrap their mind around what that means.”


Beth said at the press conference she felt good about being able to address him. “I was able to express things to him that I had been wanting to tell him, as far as telling him who he is, and he is a killer,” she said. “He is a killer. He will always be the killer. He will always be now the black mark in Aruba. He’s confessed to two murders. So that was good for me to be able to tell him that.”

Beth reiterated at the press conference how important it was for her to know definitively what happened to her daughter. “It’s shocking, and it is very disturbing,” she said. “But parents have to know the truth, they have to hear the answers to what happened in order to put this to rest and for it to be over.”