The mother of missing American teenager Natalee Holloway spoke out for the first time about an alleged extortion attempt by Joran Van Der Sloot, the lead suspect in her daughter's disappearance, in which he offered to "bring [her] Natalee" in exchange for $250,000.
"He was ready to tell the truth and lead me to the truth and lead me to Natalee's remains," Beth Twitty told Dutch reporter Peter De Vries in a new Dutch documentary.
Natalee Holloway disappeared from vacation in Aruba in 2005. Van der Sloot, long time prime suspect in the teenager's disappearance, reportedly confessed to involvement in the girl's death several times, but later retracted the confessions. Van der Sloot is currently being held in a Peruvian prison, accused of murdering a young Peruvian woman in May of this year.
In the Dutch documentary, Twitty said that van der Sloot reached out to her nearly five years after her daughter disappeared, offering information that would lead to Holloway's remains for the right price.
"I want to do something good," van der Sloot wrote in an e-mail to Twitty's lawyer, John Kelly, according to Twitty. "This is a hurtful situation for all of us and it will stay this way until it's over. I will bring you to Natalee, but the information that comes from me has to remain a secret. In return, I want to receive $250,000. If you're interested, I'll give you more details."
"I'm thinking, OK, if this is the way that I can get her remains, then I'm in," Twitty said.
Kelly, however, was convinced the offer was a scam and asked van der Sloot to Fed Ex him a bone fragment to be tested for Holloway's DNA. Van Der Sloot refused.
Still desperate, Twitty said she paid van der Sloot $25,000, but never received any information. Instead, van der Sloot traveled to Peru where a few weeks later he was arrested and charged in the murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman.
The FBI launched an extortion investigation weeks before the Peruvian woman's death, but did not issue a warrant for his arrest at the time because they lacked sufficient evidence.
In September this year, Twitty snuck into the Peruvian prison where van der Sloot is being held and asked for answers about Holloway.
But after just five minutes with the Dutch playboy, Twitty left without any new information, CNN reported, quoting Peru's "24 Horas" TV program. It was their first face-to-face meeting since Holloway's disappearance during a school vacation to Aruba.
"I think the main thing was to let him know she's still around," Kelly said, referring to Natalee's mother. "I think the message was that she is still looking for answers.
"But," he added, "she didn't expect to get them from him at this time."
Days before that meeting, van der Sloot admitted to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he extorted money from Natalee Holloway's parents for revenge.
"I wanted to get back at Natalee's family. Her parents have been making my life tough for five years," the newspaper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. "When they offered to pay for the girl's location, I thought: 'Why not'?"