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Joran van der Sloot expected to plead guilty in Natalee Holloway extortion case

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Court records filed Friday indicate Joran van der Sloot, the chief suspect in Natalee Holloway’s 2005 disappearance, intends to plead guilty in a federal case accusing him of trying to extort money from the missing teen’s mother.

A federal judge set an Oct. 18 plea and sentencing hearing for van der Sloot in Birmingham. He had previously entered a plea of not guilty in the case.

Emails sent to van der Sloot’s attorney and a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors were not immediately returned Friday evening

Van der Sloot was extradited to Alabama from Peru, where he’s serving a 28-year sentence after confessing to killing a Peruvian woman in 2010.

Holloway went missing during a high school graduation trip with classmates to Aruba. The Alabama teen was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, a student at an international school on the island. The mysterious disappearance sparked years of news coverage and countless true-crime podcasts. Van der Sloot was identified as a main suspect and was detained for questioning but no charges were filed in the case.

A judge declared Holloway dead but her body has never been found.

U.S. prosecutors say that in 2010, van der Sloot sought money from Beth Holloway to disclose the location of her daughter’s body. A grand jury indicted him that year.

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