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Published: Thursday, 6/3/2010

Holloway suspect van der Sloot sought in Peru woman's killing


LIMA, Peru - A young Dutchman previously arrested in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway is the prime suspect in a weekend murder of a Peruvian woman, police said yesterday.

Joran van der Sloot is being sought in the killing Sunday of 21-year-old Stephany Flores in a Lima hotel, criminal police chief Gen. Cesar Guardia said.

The suspect fled Peru the next day by land to Chile, General Guardia said.

The Dutch government said Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for Mr. van der Sloot.

General Guardia said the 22-year-old Dutchman, who was in the country for a poker tournament, appears with the young woman in a video taken at a Lima casino early Sunday.

The victim's father, Ricardo Flores, said she was killed about 8 a.m. in a hotel room that was splattered with blood, indicating a struggle.

The killing occurred five years after the May 30, 2005, disappearance of Miss Holloway in Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island.

Mr. van der Sloot checked out of his hotel Sunday four hours after he arrived there with the victim, the police general said.

"We have an interview with a worker at the hotel who says she saw this foreigner with the victim enter his room," General Guardia said.

An attorney for Mr. van der Sloot in New York City, Joe Tacopina, said he did not know his client's whereabouts and has not been in touch with him since the Peru allegations emerged.

Mr. Tacopina cautioned against a rush to judgment.

"Joran van der Sloot has been falsely accused of murder once before," Mr. Tacopina said.

Mr. van der Sloot was twice arrested but later released for lack of evidence in the 2005 disappearance of Miss Holloway, who was on a high school graduation trip.

No trace of her has been found and Mr. van der Sloot remains the main suspect in the case, said Ann Angela, spokesman for the Aruba prosecutor's office.

Mr. van der Sloot's late father was a prominent judge in Aruba.

Two years ago, a Dutch television crime reporter captured hidden-camera footage of Mr. van der Sloot saying he was with Miss Holloway when she collapsed on a beach, drunk.

He said he believed she was dead and asked a friend to dump her body in the sea.

Judges subsequently refused to arrest him on the basis of the tape.

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