"I don't care. Let's play poker. I mean, let's play a game and let's go have some fun,'' van der Eem said he told van der Sloot whenever the young man brought up the case.
De Vries said van der Eem set a good trap for van der Sloot.
"Joran was a little bit amazed [by van der Eem] … because most people meeting Joran will ask in already 10 minutes, 'Well, tell me, did you do it or not?' But Patrick was not interested at all.''
But at the same time, van der Eem said he tried to re-enforce the underworld ethic of silence at all costs, saying, "Never talk, never talk. … We don't talk! It's going to be you and me. We trust each other and we never talk to anybody."
But once the trap was set -- once de Vries had set van der Eem up with a brand new Range Rover tricked out with three hidden cameras, audio recording devices and a Lowjack-like tracking system, de Vries and van der Eem learned that their target had been re-arrested and was back in custody of the Aruba authorities.
"Three days before I was getting my car, he was gone,'' van der Eem said. "Oh, and it was the most … pain in my life. Peter [de Vries], me…everybody was devastated."
But the arrest eventually worked in their favor: Once a judge ordered van der Sloot released for lack of evidence and prosecutors acknowledged they would close the case, van der Eem said he realized he had a new opportunity on his hands.
Van der Sloot, whose cell phone had been confiscated by Aruban authorities, located van der Eem through a friend.
"It was over," van der Eem said. "That's what I'm telling him. 'Wonderful, man! Now we're going to make money [growing marijuana]."
As the pair sat in the Range Rover back in Holland, van der Sloot began to open up about the case, van der Eem said, acknowledging for the first time that "they'll never find'' Holloway.
What followed in the subsequent days inside the Range Rover, van der Eem said, confirmed all of his suspicions.
Confident that he could "never be nailed for this again,'' van der Sloot began to speak disparagingly of Holloway and even bragged that he went home that night, established an alibi by e-mailing friends and then fell asleep, according to the undercover tapes and interviews with van der Eem and Dutch journalist de Vries.
After his release in December and the Aruban prosecutors' admission that they couldn't build a strong enough case to convict him, van der Sloot spoke crudely about Aruban authorities and said he was expecting a "big fat compensation check … for the ... damages'' as a result of a civil complaint -- a "really big fat one'' that he said on tape he planned to use to "buy a little house in Spain."
Van der Sloot's admissions on the tapes came slowly, over the course of several days in January, according to de Vries and van der Eem.
"I know what happened to that girl,'' van der Sloot told van der Eem at one point, in the first solid admission he makes.
"She's dead, isn't she?" van der Eem asked.
"Of course,'' van der Sloot replied, coolly.
He went on to say that he was "just incredibly lucky that she's never been found. Because if they found that girl, I'd be in deep [excrement]."
Van der Sloot said that the seizure occurred during a romantic encounter between the pair, who had just met up hours before at a local nightclub.
"Suddenly, she wasn't moving anymore,'' van der Sloot said.