Saturday, January 14, 2012

Analysis: Lessons Learned from the Murders Committed by Joran van der Sloot

By now, it is common knowledge that Joran Van der Sloot, 24, who is alleged to have killed US teen Natalee Holloway, 18, in Aruba in 2005, and who on Friday (January 13) was sentenced to 28 years in a Peruvian prison for murdering Stephany Flores, 21, after they met in a Lima casino in 2010.

While the parents of Holloway and Flores want him to experience the greater deprivation of a US prison, they will have to wait for him to serve his time before any extradition on US charges related to his alleged extortion of Holloway's mother.

COMMENT: As many of our readers may or may not know, on the day that Van der Sloot was arrested in connection with Stephany Flores' murder, he was indicted in a Alabama court for accepting $25,000 in return for a promise to lead a lawyer for Holloway's mother to her daughter's remains, an agreement he never fulfilled.

Worse, he may have used some of the money he defrauded from Mrs. Holloway to fly to Peru, only to later kill Ms. Flores, when she accidentally learned of his past, rob her of cash and credit cards, and escape to Chile, from which he was later extradited back to Peru.

As is well known, Van der Sloot said he was involved in Natalee Holloway's disappearance in a videotape clandestinely made by a Dutch journalist. He later recanted the admission.

At a minimum, Van der Sloot is a pathological liar, con-man and consumer of innocent and naive people. At worst, he is a convicted murderer who hopefully will never see the light of day during his natural lifetime. That being said, and apart from all of the legal rhetoric, commentary and news coverage his miserable life has generated, there are positive lessons to be learned from those he has victimized.

As a father of two beautiful adult daughters, who I love very much, I have spent my life trying to impart to them a healthy suspicion of people who might do them harm. I have also endeavored to have a close relationship with both of my daughters, particularly when they were young adults, so I might know what was going on in their lives and the people they were associating with.

I'm sure that both the Holloway and Flores families wanted to keep their daughters safe from harm, yet it seems possible in today's frenetic, fast-paced world that parents don't really know who their sons and daughters are interacting with, particularly people who might want to take advantage of them or harm them in other ways. Hence, it is essential that all parents have good communication with their adult children, so that they are not victimized or taken advantage of.

Whenever a young person was victimized as Natalee Holloway was, we should probably stop and wonder whether the Flores' ever spoke of what happened to Holloway? If that had happened, perhaps Stephany Flores would have known of Van der Sloot's criminal notoriety. Perhaps not.

In any event, parents everywhere need to communicate clearly and deliberately with their young adult children on the risks they face in the world and urge that they develop a healthy form of suspicion of people who can harm them, and hopefully bring up such persons to their parents' attention.

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