Love During Lockup — Joran Van der Sloot's Wife Was His Most "Devoted" Fan

After Joran Van der Sloot finally confessed to killing Natalee Holloway, true crime junkies are wondering about Van der Sloot’s wife, Leidy Figueroa.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 19 2023, Published 9:48 a.m. ET

Joran van der Sloot arriving for his preliminary hearing in court in the Lurigancho prison in Lima on Jan. 6, 2011.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Joran Van der Sloot, who confessed to killing Natalee Holloway on Oct. 18, 2023, was married to Leidy Figueroa, whom he met while in prison in Peru.
  • Their relationship led to marriage and the birth of a daughter, but it ended in divorce when Van der Sloot pursued a new relationship with a younger girlfriend.
  • Van der Sloot's new girlfriend, Eva Pacohuanaco, was accused of helping him smuggle drugs into another jail in Peru, resulting in an extended sentence for him.
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It’s rare that a longstanding murder case with little evidence gets a satisfying conclusion but on Oct. 18, 2023, it finally happened. Dutchman Joran Van der Sloot confessed to killing Natalee Holloway in 2005. For years, authorities believed that Van der Sloot was guilty but didn’t have enough evidence to convict him. However, another murder kept him behind bars.

In May 2010, Van der Sloot killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores after she won big time in a casino where they met. He confessed in June and was sentenced to 28 years in prison in Peru. But while he was in prison, he had the opportunity to meet women — more specifically, a woman named Leidy Figueroa, who would later become his wife.

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Joran van der Sloot and his wife, Leidy Figueroa, divorced earlier in 2023.

2023 has been a big year for Van der Sloot — first, he got a divorce and then, he got extradited to the U.S. for a trial. While the trial was initially because Van der Sloot attempted to sell Holloway’s whereabouts to her family for $250,000, he ended up confessing to her murder in a proffer letter. Perhaps he has been softened throughout his years in prison, or perhaps, he doesn’t want to face his many romances in the outside world.

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Van der Sloot and Figueroa met in 2010 while she was selling goods and visiting a friend in the Miguel Castro Castro maximum security prison, where Van der Sloot was separated from the general prison population. During their relationship, Figueroa got pregnant, so the two wed in a private ceremony at the Piedras Gordas maximum security prison in July 2014. Later that year, Van der Sloot was transferred to the Challapalca prison in the mountainous South of Peru.

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While he was locked up, Figueroa gave birth to their daughter in November 2014, and they named her Dusha Trudie van der Sloot after Van der Sloot’s grandmother, Trudie. Their daughter is now 9 years old. But in 2020, Van der Sloot was accused of bringing drugs into Challapalca with the help of his girlfriend, Eva Pacohuanaco.

Van der Sloot’s lawyer, Maximo Altez, told Daily Mail, “Leidy continued seeing him for a while. Joran had a bunch of girlfriends … lots of girls used to visit him … but Leidy was the most loyal.” That’s how they ended up married in the first place. But by 2021, Van der Sloot asked Figueroa for a divorce to be with his “prettier and younger” girlfriend, Pacohuanaco, who was just 22 years old at the time.

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Joran Van der Sloot
Source: Getty Images

Altez shared that Van der Sloot always had women writing to him and sending him photos. “He still writes to girls and they send him pictures,” according to Altez, although there’s tighter security at Challapalca, which means fewer visitors. Even still, Altez said that Figueroa “still visits” because she “likes the punishment … and is nothing without her husband.”

It seems that Van der Sloot might have gotten off lucky, because his 20-year American sentence will be served concurrently with his Peru sentence. But his ex-wife still has yet to comment on the situation, according to various outlets.

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