Atlanta private investigator hired by Natalee Holloway’s family says they finally have justice

ATLANTA — Natalee Holloway’s family finally has closure. Joran Van Der Sloot admitted in court to killing her on Wednesday.

The Dutch native will spend 20 years in federal prison after serving time for a different murder in Peru.

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Holloway’s mom said her nightmare is finally over. When this started, the Holloway family hired an Atlanta-based Private Investigator to get answers.

“Today, was an historical day,” said Private Investigator T.J. Ward.

The news of somebody admitting to killing Natalee Holloway has many shocked, including Ward.

“Did I believe that it would happen like this? No,” said Ward.

Ward has been working on the case since the beginning. He said Holloway’s parents hired him to find out what happened to their daughter Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005.

Ward said he flew to Aruba to conduct his own investigation. Authorities considered Joran Van Der Sloot a prime suspect in Holloway’s disappearance.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to extorting Holloway’s mother Beth Holloway, and also admitted to killing Natalee.

“He came to Beth Holloway and asked her for money, $25,000 in exchange for him telling her where her daughter was,” said Ward.

Van Der Sloot told his attorney that he killed Natalee on a beach in Aruba after she rejected his sexual advances and kneed him in the crotch when he refused to stop.

“He told the family that he was at the beach and he hit her with a brick in the face,” said Ward.


Ward said he got a tip that Van Der Sloot was going to finally tell the truth, but he didn’t believe that was going to happen.

He said although it’s been 18 years, he’s glad the family will finally get justice.

“I think this was a very good thing for the family to bring closure for them. Because this thing has been riding out for the last 18 years.”

In a victim statement, Beth Holloway said Van Der Sloot has caused so much indescribable pain and harm to her family. She said he’s a murderer and she wants him to remember that every time that jail door slams shut.

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Larry Spruill

Larry Spruill, WSB-TV

Larry Spruill Jr. has been part of the WSB-TV family since March 2022. He is an Emmy Nominated Journalist with over 12 years of news and storytelling experience.