Hunt for Joran Van Der Sloot: Former Lawyer Questions Evidence in Peru Murder, Natalee Holloway Case

Interpol has issued international arrest warrant for 22-year-old Dutch playboy.

June 2, 2010, 1:23 PM

June 3, 2010— -- A former lawyer for Dutch playboy-turned-fugitive Joran van der Sloot is questioning the evidence in the murder of a young Peruvian woman, saying previous accusations against his one-time client have been heavy on rumor and light on credibility.

Van der Sloot is believed to be on the run in Chile, following this week's murder of 21-year-old Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez, whose body was found in van der Sloot's Peru hotel room.

Police believe she was killed exactly five years to the day of the disappearance in Aruba of American teenager Natalee Holloway. Van der Sloot has long been the chief person of interest in that case, but charges were never filed, even after two arrests.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," van der Sloot's former defense attorney Joe Tacopina told "Good Morning America" today. "I don't know enough about the facts -- the so-called facts -- of this new investigation."

Peruvian newspapers have taken to calling van der Sloot the "international assassin" and Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant.

Flores, who was reportedly an out lesbian struggling with her sexuality, was found beaten and stabbed to death in a room at the Miraflores Hotel Tac in Lima booked in van der Sloot's name, police said. The two were seen on surveillance video leaving a casino together. A hotel employee told police that Flores entered the hotel early Sunday morning with van der Sloot.

But Tacopina pointed out that her body was not found until Wednesday and questioned how it was possible she was killed days before without hotel staff knowing. Authorities believe van der Sloot fled Peru, passing through customs into Chile, and is on his way to Argentina.

"I don't know if he's innocent or not. I don't know if he's on the run or not," Tacopina said. "If, in fact there is an international warrant out for his arrest, then he should deal with it."

Tacopina said that after all the accusations in the Holloway case -- accusations that have yet to lead to charges or a conviction -- he's hesitant to believe anything the media presents about van der Sloot.

"There have been so many incidents where false facts have been presented," he said. "Rumors take on a life of their own."

Flores' funeral will be held today in Peru.

Though living openly as a lesbian, Flores struggled to balance her sexuality with her parents' intense disapproval, her ex-girlfriend Stephanie Jimenez told "Good Morning America" today.

Jimenez said that Flores had recently been hitting the casinos especially hard, spending thousands of dollars at a time. She described Flores as a good girl whose intense insecurity shaped much of her behavior.

Joran van der Sloot: Similarities Between Holloway Case and Peru Murder?

Jimenez, now living in Miami, said that Flores would often flirt with men while gambling at the casino with her father, Peruvian businessman and racecar driver Ricardo Flores, even though she was out to the gay community.

"She knew something bad was going to happen to her regarding gambling, regarding this environment," Jimenez said. "I mean, this guy appeared out of nowhere. They went to a hotel, and I can't believe this."

Jimenez said it wasn't unusual for either Flores or her father to disappear for a few days at a time, but she's shocked her friend would go to a hotel with van der Sloot.

"She wouldn't do that, she wouldn't do that just for fun," Jimenez said. "She was afraid of something like this happening."

There are several similarities between Flores' death and Holloway's disappearance on May 30, 2005. Most notably, the two women seem to have met van der Sloot under similar circumstances and both were captured on video leaving with him.

The lack of charges against van der Sloot have been a painful source of frustration for Holloway's friends and family, especially after he was heard in February 2008 on a reporter's hidden camera saying investigators would never find Holloway's body.

The video prompted Aruban investigators to re-open the case, but van der Sloot was never brought back to the island.

And 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 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.

Spokeswoman for the Aruban Justice Department, Ann Angela continued to say that their "conclusion was that the statements made by Joran van der Sloot are entirely unbelievable."

But former FBI agent Brad Garrett said Flores's death may force authorities there to take another look at van der Sloot.

"It might bolster the case in Aruba, particularly if they are similar," he said.

For now, Jimenez said she wants people to know that Flores was a good person despite a troubled life.

"I want everybody to see the real Stephany, the sweet Stephany -- the good friend, good daughter," she said. "She was a good person and that's what matters."

ABC News' Russell Goldman contributed to this story.