Natalee Holloway suspect Joran van der Sloot ditches wife: lawyer


The prime suspect in the disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway is abandoning the wife he married while in prison for murder in favor of a “prettier and younger” girlfriend suspected of smuggling him drug behind bars, his lawyer said this week.

Joran van der Sloot, 35, asked his wife, Leidy Figueroa, for a divorce about a year ago, his lawyer Maximo Altez told The Daily Mail.

The Dutch native is now in a relationship with Eva Pacohuanaco, a “prettier and younger” girlfriend who was once accused of smuggling him drugs, the attorney explained to the outlet.

Van der Sloot and Figueroa, 33, famously married at Peru’s Piedras Gordas prison in July 2014 – four years after he was sentenced to 28 years behind bars for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores.

They reportedly met when Figueroa was selling concessions to inmates at Miguel Castro Castro prison in Lima.

Leidy Figueroa.
Leidy Figueroa, who married van der Sloot in a Peruvian prison in 2014.

The couple’s daughter, Dusha Trudie Van der Sloot, was born about two months after the private jailhouse ceremony.

Shortly after tying the knot, Figueroa boasted to The Daily Mail her new husband was “gentle, sensitive, kind” and “no monster.”

In one gushing love letter the convicted killer wrote from his cell, he even promised to buy his bride “your own house, better say our house.”

Stephany Flores.
Stephany Flores, who Joran van der Sloot was convicted of murdering in 2010
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But Figueroa, Altex claimed, was merely the “most loyal” out of several women who courted van der Sloot in prison.

“Joran had a bunch of girlfriends,” he said, noting that his client “still writes to girls and they send him pictures.”

Van der Sloot first made headlines almost two decades ago, when he was linked to the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, who was last seen on the final night of her high school graduation trip to Aruba.

Natalee Holloway.
Natalee Holloway vanished on May 30, 2005.

Holloway, 18, vanished shortly after she left an Oranjestad bar with van der Sloot and two others in the early hours of May 30, 2005. 

She was declared legally dead in 2012, though her remains have never been found.

Last week, officials announced that van der Sloot would be extradited to Alabama to face charges of extortion and fraud stemming from allegations that he tried to swindle $250,000 from Holloway’s mother, Beth.

Figueroa is seen arriving at her jailhouse wedding in July 2014.
Figueroa is seen arriving at her jailhouse wedding in July 2014.

A 2005 missing poster for Holloway on a beach in Aruba.
Van der Sloot is one of the last people seen with Holloway.

Although van der Sloot initially tried to appeal the motion, Altez said he is now eager for the opportunity to clear his name.

“Joran wants to go to the US to prove he did not ask Ms. Holloway for money,” he explained.

“He realized he can be absolved of the charges.”

Regardless of the outcome of his stateside trial, van der Sloot will have to return to Peru to serve out his murder sentence. He is also facing an additional seven years over allegations Pacohuanaco helped him smuggle cocaine and mairjuana into prison, the outlet said.

In her official statement last week, Beth Holloway mourned the time she lost with her daughter – but expressed hope she might finally get answers about her fate.

“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years,” she wrote.

“She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”

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