Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inside the Mind of Joran van der Sloot

Rock Star-Like Fame

The van der Sloot case represents more than just a traditional crime story. Van der Sloot's relationship with new types of media outlets, and, in particular, his ability to use publicity to his advantage may have set the stage for a new type of criminal case. In many respects, van der Sloot heralds a new type of criminal suspect who seeks to capitalize on his notoriety, using Facebook pages, blog sites, and new media outlets that can reach millions of readers in just a matter of minutes, Byars told truTV.

"During the entire time, Joran has really had the rock star lifestyle and he hasn't held a real job," Byars said. "Whenever he needed money he came up with a new story and did another interview."

Joran van der Sloot
Joran van der Sloot

Indeed, van der Sloot was able to manipulate an entire population through the press. "There is no greater control than that when people are hanging on your every word, while he can make those emotions go anyway he wants," Byars said. "I think we will see more of that with the reality television trends and the instant gratification of Twitter and Facebook, when someone who may or may not have done the crime — which is completely immaterial — can really get off on the publicity, the money they can make off of the crime, and the lifestyle that gives them."

Sadly, the significance of the van der Sloot case in the annals of crime history can easily overshadow the plight of the victims. In Natalee Holloway's case, for example, it may never be known whether she died from a bad mix of alcohol and date-rape drugs that van der Sloot slipped in her drink, whether van der Sloot simply murdered her, or some bizarre tragedy unrelated to van der Sloot somehow befell her. The upcoming trial for Flores' murder could shed some light on what happened, although learning the real truth directly from van der Sloot's testimony seems to be an increasingly remote possibility.


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