The question of whether killers are born or made is a prevalent topic in the field of criminal psychology, and in the case of Joran van der Sloot, it appears that both nature and nurture played a role in his development. While there may have been some innate tendencies towards malevolence, it is evident that environmental factors, or the absence of positive influences, contributed to the manifestation of van der Sloot’s darkest inclinations.
Born in the Netherlands in August 1987 to parents Paulus and Anita van der Sloot, who were a lawyer and an art teacher respectively, the family made a significant decision to relocate to Aruba in 1990. This move, motivated by a legal dispute over a highway construction project, had a pivotal impact on their lives.
About 15 years after their move, Joran van der Sloot committed the heinous act of taking the life of high school graduate Natalee Holloway. Shockingly, it took him 18 years to finally admit to this crime, depriving her of the promising future she had ahead.
While in Aruba, the van der Sloot family enjoyed affluence and political connections. Paulus’ career ascended from attorney to judge, further solidifying their status. However, beneath the surface, there were signs of trouble. Joran exhibited problematic behavior from a young age, and his early involvement with drugs and alcohol only exacerbated the situation.
Reports suggest that Paulus at least once facilitated his underage son’s gambling by providing him with money for a casino, and allowed him to drive illegally around the island. These actions reflect a permissive approach to parenting, which likely contributed to Joran’s troubled behavior. Additionally, during his teenage years, Joran’s struggles with dishonesty came to light, which played a role in the Natalee Holloway case.
Initially, Joran’s narrative regarding his encounter with Natalee hinted at a sexual nature, a story that his mother Anita chose to support at the time. Anita’s behavior during this period was marked by inconsolable grief, including her statement that Joran was doing well in anger management classes. Unfortunately, this progress was insufficient.
Paulus himself faced suspicion of involvement in Natalee’s disappearance and was briefly detained in June 2005. Many believed he knew more than he admitted, but he was ultimately released. In February 2010, he tragically passed away from a heart attack. His death marked a turning point for Anita, who began to acknowledge the possibility of her son’s culpability in Stephany Flores Ramirez’s murder in Peru. However, she struggled to fully let go of her maternal bias.
In terms of their financial status, the van der Sloots were undeniably well-off. Their legal victory against the Dutch government and subsequent move to Aruba, where they resided in the luxurious Tierra del Sol, bolstered their wealth. Although there is speculation about their net worth, it is estimated to have been close to $10 million by the end of Paulus’ life.
Anita currently resides in Aruba and was last seen in May 2023. She no longer lives at Tierra del Sol, as the property has been converted into a resort. Despite the significant events surrounding her family, she remains a figure of intrigue in the ongoing narrative of Joran van der Sloot’s crimes.