Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch national accused of luring a young Peruvian woman to a Lima hotel room and stabbing her to death, has been captured by police in neighboring Chile, ending a days-long international manhunt.
Van der Sloot had been the subject of intense international media attention since he was named the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of American high school student Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
Chilean media reports that van der Sloot was captured by police while travelling in a taxi on the highway between Santiago and Valparaiso. Prior to his arrest, a Peruvian taxi driver came forward to say he drove the Dutchman to the border, where van der Sloot, the son of an Aruban lawyer, crossed into Chile by foot.
Van der Sloot, was escorted by three police officers as he was taken from a dark vehicle into a police office in downtown Santiago, Chile. He made no comment as he entered, walking calmly and without handcuffs as journalists shouted his name, the Associated Press reported.
Van der Sloot is expected to be expelled from the country as early as Friday morning, according to law enforcement sources in Chile. The sources say van der Sloot would be taken from the prison to a small airfield at the Chile-Peru border where he would be turned over to Peruvian police. If all goes as planned, the sources say, van der Sloot would arrive in Lima late Friday afternoon.
The Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores Ramirez, 21, whom authorities found dead in a hotel room booked under van der Sloot's name, is believed to have been killed on May 30, exactly five years to the day that Holloway vanished.
Police said van der Sloot and Flores were captured on surveillance video leaving a casino and were later seen together by hotel staff at the Miraflores Hotel Tac, where he was staying.
The woman's father told reporters that the she was killed about 8 a.m. Sunday morning and the room was covered in blood, indicating a struggle had taken place.
Authorities believe van der Sloot fled Peru into Chile and was on his way to Argentina.
Peruvian officials issued an international arrest warrant for the Dutchman and Interpol was cooperating in the investigation.
Van der Sloot reportedly entered Peru on May 14 and left either May 30 or May 31. He initially entered the country to play in a poker tournament, according to Peruvian police chief Gen. Cesar Guardia.
Flores too was an avid poker player, who friends described as a known lesbian who was struggling with her sexuality.
Van der Sloot's American attorney Joe Tacopina said van der Sloot had a target on his back since Holloway's disapearance.
"It just doesn't make sense to me," Tacopina told "Good Morning America" today. "I don't know enough about the facts -- the so-called facts -- of this new investigation."
Holloway similarly disappeared after being last seen with Van der Sloot outside an Aruban night club on May 30, 2005. Van der Sloot was initially arrested in Holloway's disappearance in June of that year. He was released and arrested again in 2007, when he was detained for questioning but never charged.
In 2008, Dutch journalist Peter de Vries claimed he solved the case when Van der Sloot confessed to an undercover reporter to being with Holloway when she died and dumping her body in the Caribbean Sea.
In February 2010, a Dutch tabloid published a supposed confession by van der Sloot in which he said Holloway got drunk and fell from a balcony.
The Justice Department in Aruba was quick to dismiss the details of van der Sloot's latest alleged confession, telling ABC News, "We have been aware of the existence of this interview since August of last year. We investigated the claims made. The Aruban police investigated, with help from specialists with the Dutch police.
Holloway's body has never been found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report