Year
2005

Police search Van der Sloot home in Holloway disappearance

On this day in 2005, more than two weeks after American teen Natalee Holloway vanished while on a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba, police there search the home of 17-year-old Joran Van der Sloot, one of the last known people to see the young woman alive. Although Van der Sloot would emerge as a prime suspect in the case, he was never charged. Holloway’s disappearance generated massive media attention in the United States; however, her body never has been found, and in 2012 she was declared legally dead.

Holloway, an 18-year-old from Mountain Brook, Alabama, was last seen leaving an Aruban bar and restaurant with Van der Sloot and two of his friends, Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, in the early hours of May 30. The young men initially claimed they dropped the blonde teen at her hotel around 2 a.m.; however, the three, who were arrested on June 9, later changed their stories. Van der Sloot reportedly admitted to being alone with Holloway on the beach on May 30, after being dropped there by the Kalpoe brothers, but said he never harmed her. After a judge deemed there was not enough evidence to hold them, the Kalpoes were released from custody in early July. Van der Sloot, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in Dutch-speaking Aruba, was released in September. A string of additional suspects were detained but no charges were filed. Despite extensive searches of the island and surrounding ocean by investigators and volunteers, the case remained unsolved.

In 2007, police re-arrested Van der Sloot and the Kalpoes in connection with Holloway’s disappearance, but once again soon released them due to insufficient evidence. The following year, a Dutch television program aired a secretly made tape in which Van der Sloot alleged Holloway had collapsed on the beach, and that after failing to revive her he had disposed of her body. He later retracted this statement.

On June 3, 2010, Van der Sloot was arrested in South America in connection with the slaying of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru. Flores was murdered on May 30, 2010, exactly five years to the day after Holloway went missing. Van der Sloot met the Peruvian college student at a Lima casino while he was there for a poker tournament. After Flores was found dead in a hotel room, beaten and with a broken neck, hotel surveillance video linked the Dutchman to the crime. After his arrest, he admitted to Peruvian authorities he had killed Flores following an argument. However, he later recanted this confession, saying he was frightened and confused when he made it. On the day Van der Sloot was arrested in South America, U.S. authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a plot to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s family in exchange for revealing the location of her remains.

On January 11, 2012, Van der Sloot, who has been behind bars in Peru since his June 2010 arrest, pleaded guilty in a Lima courtroom to Flores’ murder. His lawyer contended the Dutchman killed Flores due to “extreme psychological trauma” after being accused in Holloway’s disappearance. Van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

One day before the sentencing in Peru, a judge in Birmingham, Alabama, signed an order declaring Natalee Holloway legally dead. The judge made the ruling at the request of Holloway’s father, so that he could settle his daughter’s estate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Battle of Petersburg begins

During the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia collide for the last time as the first wave of Union troops attacks Petersburg, a vital Southern rail center 23 miles south of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. ...read more

Kyu Sakamoto tops the charts with “Sukiyaki”

On June 15, 1963, Kyu Sakamoto accomplished something never achieved before or since when he earned a #1 hit on the American pop charts with a song sung entirely in Japanese—a song originally written and recorded under the title “Ue O Muite Aruk?.” This was not the title under ...read more

U.S.-Canadian border established

Representatives of Great Britain and the United States sign the Oregon Treaty, which settles a long-standing dispute with Britain over who controlled the Oregon territory. The treaty established the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Georgia as the boundary ...read more

Richard Petty makes 1,000th start

On this day in 1986, driving legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, in the Miller American 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to log 1,000 career starts. Petty grew up on ...read more

Magna Carta sealed

Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the ...read more

U.S. planes bomb North Vietnam

U.S. planes bomb targets in North Vietnam, but refrain from bombing Hanoi and the Soviet missile sites that surround the city. On June 17, two U.S. Navy jets downed two communist MiGs, and destroyed another enemy aircraft three days later. U.S. planes also dropped almost 3 ...read more

Francis Parkman arrives at Fort Laramie

Francis Parkman, one of the first serious historians to study the American West, arrives at Fort Laramie and prepares for a summer of research with the Sioux.Parkman was an unlikely frontiersman. The son of a prominent Boston family, he was an impeccably proper gentleman of ...read more

Dante is named prior of Florence

On this day, poet Dante Alighieri becomes one of six priors of Florence, active in governing the city. Dante’s political activities, which include the banishment of several rivals, lead to his own exile from Florence, his native city, after 1302. He will write his great work, The ...read more

Judy Garland marries Vincente Minnelli

On this day in 1945, the 23-year-old actress and singer Judy Garland marries the director Vincente Minnelli, her second husband. The couple had one daughter, the actress and singer Liza Minnelli.Garland was born Frances Gumm in 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Her parents ran a ...read more

River excursion ends in tragedy

More than 1,000 people taking a pleasure trip on New York City’s East River are drowned or burned to death when a fire sweeps through the boat. This was one of the United States’ worst maritime disasters.The riverboat-style steamer General Slocum was built in 1890 and used ...read more

The United States presents the Baruch Plan

The United States presents the Baruch Plan for the international control of atomic weapons to the United Nations. The failure of the plan to gain acceptance resulted in a dangerous nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In August ...read more

Lincoln calls for help

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting Washington, D.C., America’s capital city.Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock ...read more

Delaware declares independence

On this day in 1776, the Assembly of the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declares itself independent of British and Pennsylvanian authority, thereby creating the state of Delaware.Delaware did not exist as a colony under British rule. As of 1704, Pennsylvania had two colonial ...read more