Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inside the Mind of Joran van der Sloot

Running Wild in Aruba

Paulus van der Sloot moved the family to Aruba in 1991 and secured a job as an attorney with the Aruban government with ambitions to eventually become a judge there. The sun-splashed beaches, bars and casinos of the tourist-paradise setting combined with the van der Sloot family's moneyed and politically connected status on the tight-knit island to provide the perfect situation for a teenager hell-bent on gambling and living the high-life to get quickly into trouble.

Little is known about Joran van der Sloots's school life in Aruba, except that he attended classes at the International School of Aruba and played soccer and tennis — neither the school headmaster nor the teacher truTV contacted would disclose further details about van der Sloot's student days. Prior to Natalee's disappearance, he had been planning to attend Saint Leo University in Florida, a tier-three college according to the annual college guide of U.S. News and World Report.

Joran van der Sloot
Joran van der Sloot

Outside of school, van der Sloot's extracurricular activities soon came to the attention of the police; his father may have used his connections to keep his son out of jail even before Natalee's disappearance. Police officials told van der Spek that it was rumored that that van der Sloot began frequenting Internet forums soon after arriving at Aruba in which he solicited couples visiting the island on cruise ships to have sex for money. Van der Spek also reported that van der Sloot had pushed a classmate through a plate-glass window when he was 16, about a year before Natalee's disappearance, and that, while drunk, van der Sloot had assaulted a homeless man and thrown him in the ocean

On a typical night leading up to Natalee's disappearance, van der Sloot, when not playing poker, frequented late-night bars and was suspected on several occasions of slipping date-rape drugs into unsuspecting women's drinks, although the local police have yet to explain what, if any, investigation these suspicions received. Harold Copus, a former FBI investigator who specializes in missing persons cases, told truTV that at least one young woman was willing to come forward to offer proof about these allegations and rumors before changing her mind and declining to be interviewed.

 

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