Photo: AP: Joran van der Sloot under police custody in Santiago de Chile, 03 Jun 2010
The young Dutchman linked to the disappearance of an American teenager five years ago has been detained in Chile in connection with the murder of a woman in Peru.
Chilean officials say 22-year-old Joran van der Sloot was taken into custody Thursday while traveling by taxi from Santiago toward the coastal area of Vina del Mar.
Van der Sloot entered Chile earlier in the week. Chilean authorities say they are awaiting instructions from their Peruvian counterparts on how to proceed.
The young man – who traveled to Peru last month for a poker tournament – is suspected in the death of 21-year-old Peruvian Stephany Flores. Her body was found Wednesday in a Lima hotel room registered to him. Police have a videotape showing them together at a Lima casino late Saturday.
In the United States, federal prosecutors in Birmingham, Alabama Thursday filed a criminal complaint against van der Sloot on charges of wire fraud and extortion.
The complaint accuses him of trying to extort $250,000 in return for promising to reveal the location of the body of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who disappeared May 30, 2005, while visiting the Caribbean island of Aruba.
The complaint against van der Sloot does not name the person paying the money. The extortion charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Van der Sloot was twice arrested in the highly publicized disappearance of Holloway, who was 18. Her body has never been found. Prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge anyone.
Investigators say the woman in Peru was killed exactly five years after Holloway vanished during a school trip to Aruba.
The Peruvian’s father, Ricardo Flores, welcomed van der Sloot’s arrest and blamed the Dutchman for her killing. A funeral service was held for her Thursday in Peru.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.