Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inside the Mind of Joran van der Sloot

Family Dynamics

Anita and Paulus van der Sloot
Anita and Paulus van der Sloot

Van der Sloot spent his childhood in Arnhem, the Netherlands, where he and his two brothers were born. Joran's father Paulus, a graduate of Tilburg University law school, had a private legal practice specializing in government law while his mother, Anita van der Sloot-Hugen, who by all accounts is a very shy person who has only rarely spoken to the media, was a school teacher who taught art classes. In the Netherlands, Paul waged a 20 year legal battle against the Dutch government to stop a highway from running through the van der Sloot family estate in Boxtel, a town in the southern Netherlands. Ultimately, Paulus managed to have the highway relocated, but had before the end of the legal struggle decided to relocate the family; they moved to Aruba in 1991, when Joran was four-years-old.

In Aruba, Joran began to express a violent side; during his early teen years counseling was sought after he pilfered money from his father and allegedly behaved violently towards his brother, Kees van der Spek, a Dutch investigative news reporter, told truTV. While taking a violent child to see a therapist is a rational thing to do, it would later become clear that the parents, especially his father, not only exerted little control over the youth, but even seemed to condone illegal behavior. His father on one occasion gave money to a casino to let Joran gamble, and routinely let him drive, although driving and gambling are illegal activities in Aruba for those under the age of 18, van der Spek related.

Peter R. DeVries
Peter R. DeVries

In a revealing set of circumstances years during the investigation of Holloway's disappearance, van der Sloot was confronted on a talk show in the Netherlands about his notorious self-implication, caught on a hidden camera, in the hiding of Holloway's body. Backstage, after the show, van der Sloot threw a glass of wine in the face of investigative reporter Peter R. DeVries, according to van der Spek, a colleague of DeVries. Witnesses said that the reaction of the parents, who were on hand, was strange, in that they immediately began consoling their son without any apology to DeVries. This then prompted van der Sloot's younger brother to begin shouting that the parents only paid attention to Joran and his needs while ignoring him, van der Spek told truTV. Anita van der Sloot declined to speak with truTV when contacted by phone.

"What I do know is that Joran was the boss of his father and mother," van der Spek told truTV. "He would tell them what to do and not the other way around."


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