Dutch Murder Suspect Interrogated

LIMA, Peru — The lone suspect in the disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway was paraded – moist-eyed and looking stunned – before reporters on Saturday as Peruvians denounced him and detectives began interrogating him about the murder of a Lima student.

Joran van der Sloot arrived at criminal police headquarters in a brown Interpol SUV and was escorted across an auditorium of shouting, shutter-snapping journalists three times.

Wearing a green bulletproof vest, his hands handcuffed behind him, the husky 22-year-old Dutchman stared straight ahead and didn’t respond to reporters’ questions or even make eye contact.

Outside the police headquarters, seven Indian shamans in brightly colored ponchos repeatedly stabbed a cloth doll representing van der Sloot in a “spiritual punishment” ritual.

“We’re punishing him so that all the forces of evil are purged,” one shouted.

About an hour earlier, onlookers yelled insults at the man who has dominated Peruvian front pages as he was transferred from a highway police station wagon south of the foggy coastal capital.

His interrogation began almost immediately, Gen. Cesar Guardia, chief of Peru’s criminal police, told The Associated Press.

Chile deported van der Sloot at the countries’ border on Friday and he was driven 17 hours north in a police caravan.

Chilean police spokesman Fernando Ovalle said the Dutchman told them he did not kill 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found battered with a broken neck on Sunday in his Lima hotel room. But van der Sloot did acknowledge that “he met her and at some point they went to a casino,” Ovalle said.

Hotel video cameras and witnesses recorded the two entering van der Sloot’s hotel room together and the Dutchman leaving alone, carrying two bags, Gen. Guardia said.

He said that at 8:10 a.m., nearly an hour and a half before leaving the hotel, van der Sloot walked across the street alone, bought bread and two cups of coffee at a supermarket and returned to his hotel room.

Peru’s interior minister, Octavio Salazar, reminded reporters that the murder investigation was not over.

“You need to be calm. We can’t rush the matter, nor can we give details concerning the event or that investigation itself,” he told a brief news conference.

“In two weeks we’ll know if the girl had sexual relations or if there is alcohol in her blood,” Dr. Cesar Tejada, the deputy Lima medical examiner, told The Associated Press in an interview.

The girl’s father, Ricardo Flores, told the AP that video cameras had also tracked the couple as they walked before dawn Sunday to van der Sloot’s hotel from a casino in Lima’s upscale Miraflores district where the two met playing poker.

She had dropped two girlfriends off at their homes several hours earlier. El Comercio, citing a police report, said she sent a text message to one to tell her she was “walking up the stairs to my bedroom.” Read more at cbn.com

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