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Joran van ver Sloot and the end of the Natalee Holloway media circus

When you saw his pasty pale-skinned face, your eyes became glued to TV. You debated his innocence as if he was O.J. Simpson. Blowhards, from Nancy Grace to me to Dr. Phil kept track of his every movement.

He is Joran van der Sloot, and ever since his high profile role in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway came to light, the mere mention of his name could directly lead to production of a Dateline NBC Special. But to those who have shuddered at the amount of media attention given to a double-murderer there is hope, as two recent events spell the end of Joran van der Sloot’s time in the spotlight.

Recently in Lima, a Peruvian court found Joran van der Sloot guilty in the murder of Stephanie Flores, the daughter of an influential businessman. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for strangling the young woman, after becoming enraged that she used his laptop and found stories on the internet linking him to the Natalee Holloway disappearance. Now, for the next 14 to 28 years, this animal will be left to rot, literally, in a harsh Peruvian prison.

The same week Joran van der Sloot was found guilty, an Alabama judge declared Natalee Holloway legally dead. The decision enables family members to clear up inheritance issues and estate issues. Holloway’s body was never found.

To us, the outsiders, combined with Joran van der Sloot’s imprisonment, the declaration of Natalee Holloway’s death decreases the likelihood that we’ll be hearing much more about this story. And we shouldn’t. After all, people are murdered all the time, so not to take away from the suffering of Natalee Holloway’s family, but there are plenty of other murders that could have been given media attention. Instead of highlighting more meaningful events, the media turned a death into a circus and a murderer into a celebrity.

About Eric J Cortes

Eric Jude Cortes describes his ethnic background as simply “New Yorker.” The son of an Italian mother and a Puerto Rican father, Eric Jude grew up in a Russian/Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn and attended extremely diverse public schools. Eric Jude credits his diverse upbringing with his success professionally, as since 2004 he has been teaching in a public high school with one of the largest percentage of foreign born students in the city. It is this diversity which has shaped his work for Being Latino, which have ranged from a lighthearted musing on the drink Malta, to a passionate diatribe against drug addicts. At the university level, Eric Jude has an MA in History, with a thesis on Contraband in Spanish Puerto Rico, from Brooklyn College. An avid traveler, Eric Jude’s bucket list includes a pledge to visit every Latin American country, something he has complete halfway so far. His secrets to success in life include faith, a type-A personality, and the ability to be silly and break into a dance at moment’s notice. Daily, he can be found running on your local street, lifting weights at your local gym, or praying at your local Catholic church.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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