A federal judge said that Joran van der Sloot confessed to killing Ms. Holloway in a hearing in which he was given a 20-year sentence on extortion and wire fraud charges, The Associated Press reported.
The man who has long been linked to the 2005 overseas disappearance of the American teenager Natalee Holloway pleaded guilty in federal court in Alabama on Wednesday to charges that he tried to extort Ms. Holloway’s mother, prosecutors said.
According to the plea agreement, Joran van der Sloot, a 36-year-old Dutchman, agreed to provide “full, complete, accurate, and truthful information” about Ms. Holloway’s disappearance in exchange for a 20-year sentence on extortion and wire fraud charges.
Presiding over the hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, Judge Anna M. Manasco said that as part of the sentencing decision, Mr. van der Sloot had confessed to killing Ms. Holloway and disposing of her remains, according to The Associated Press.
Mr. van der Sloot has been serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian student, Stephany Flores. He will have to return to Peru to finish his sentence for that crime as well as another for a drug smuggling charge.
“You have brutally murdered, in separate instances years apart, two young women who refused your sexual advances,” Judge Manasco said, according to the A.P.
The extortion charges were related to Ms. Holloway’s disappearance while on a trip with her high school class in Aruba, the Caribbean island nation and former Dutch colony where Mr. van der Sloot was living at the time.
Mr. van der Sloot has never been charged in Ms. Holloway’s death or disappearance.
“Today marks the end of 18 years of wondering what happened to Natalee Holloway,” Prim Escalona, the interim United States attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, told reporters after the hearing.
Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, said after the hearing that Mr. van der Sloot had “finally confessed.”
She said that Mr. van der Sloot had said that he killed Natalee on the beach and then put her in the water. More details will be made public, she said.
“He is the killer,” she said, adding, “He described when and how he killed her.”
“As far as I am concerned it’s over. It’s over,” she said. “I’m satisfied knowing that he did it, he did it alone and he disposed of her alone.”
She said his confession “means we’ve finally reached the end of our never-ending nightmare.”
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday that Mr. van der Sloot had taken a polygraph and had admitted to killing Ms. Holloway in Aruba.
Mr. van der Sloot was extradited to the United States in June to face the extortion and fraud charges. He pleaded not guilty and has been held since then in jail in Shelby County, Ala.
Prosecutors said Mr. Van der Sloot tried to demand a $250,000 payment from Ms. Holloway’s mother, claiming to have knowledge of the location of her remains. He received only $25,000 from Beth Holloway after providing false information, according to prosecutors.
Last week, John Q. Kelly, a lawyer for Beth Holloway, said that Mr. van der Sloot had made a deal with prosecutors and would plead guilty to the extortion and fraud charges. As part of the deal, Mr. van der Sloot had agreed to share information with prosecutors about Ms. Holloway’s death, according to Mr. Kelly.
Ms. Holloway was 18 when she disappeared on May 30, 2005, after a night out in Aruba during a trip with her high school class. She has never been found, and a judge declared her legally dead in 2012. The unsolved case has been the subject of intense public interest, especially in the Netherlands and the United States, including news coverage as well as true-crime books and feature films.
In 2008, a Dutch crime reporter, Peter R. de Vries, organized a sting operation for his television show in which he tried to solve the case using an informant and hidden cameras. Stopping just short of an outright confession on the program, Mr. van der Sloot told the informant that Ms. Holloway was “never to be found.”