Justice always comes too late

Published 9:07 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

Justice always comes too late for victims of violent offenders, who are not put away when they should be.

And an example of this is currently playing out in the media as Joran Van der Sloot is now in the clutches of Peruvian law enforcement.

The 22-year-old Dutch man was arrested and has reportedly confessed to killing Stephany Flores Ramirez in his hotel room in Lima, Peru.

A grainy security tape from the hotel shows Van der Sloot leading the victim to his hotel room hours before her body was found by a hotel employee.

It’s an eerily similar scenario that played out exactly five years ago when Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba.

The only exceptions, Holloway was never found and Van der Sloot was never brought to trial in her disappearance.

Watching the television footage of Peruvian police officials escorting an emotionless Van der Sloot through a crowd of reporters, it’s not hard for most to reason that Ramirez’s death could have been prevented.

Van der Sloot, along with two other Dutch teens Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, was under a cloud of suspicion from the beginning as he was among the last to see Holloway.

Shortly after Holloway’s disappearance, Van der Sloot was arrested numerous times yet there was “no sufficient evidence” in the Holloway case to try the suspect, according to Aruban authorities. For years Van der Sloot has miraculously escaped the “long arm of the law” in Aruba that seemed to always embrace him rather than arrest him.

Then, Van der Sloot began to talk about the case, seemingly toying with Holloway’s family members and those involved with the case.

Who could forget Van der Sloot confessing in an undercover investigation by Peter de Vries he was there when Holloway died. Van der Sloot was smoking marijuana at the time and later said he lied to the man he was talking to on the footage.

Then, of course, during a 2008 interview with Greta Van Susteren, Van der Sloot said he sold Holloway into a sex trafficking ring. Yet again he retracted those statements.

Van der Sloot seemingly has as many confessions and retractions as a cat has lives. Either way, Van der Sloot should have been arrested and tried after the first confession. But Dutch authorities, who eventually took over the case, never made their move.

And now the errors of their ways have made yet another family’s nightmare come true. I can only hope that both families can find a little bit of justice with the arrest of Van der Sloot.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.