Suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance arrives in US from Peru

By Marco Aquino and Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) -A convicted killer long suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway arrived on Thursday in the U.S., where he faces extortion and fraud charges.

Images broadcast on U.S. TV networks showed a plane carrying Joran van der Sloot, 35, landing in Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday afternoon from Peru, where he has been serving a 28-year sentence for murder in a separate case.

Peruvian police handed over van der Sloot, a Dutch national from the Caribbean island of Aruba, to FBI agents earlier in the day at a Peruvian Air Force base for transfer to the U.S.

Holloway, an 18-year-old from a suburb of Birmingham, mysteriously vanished during a high school graduation trip to Aruba in 2005. Her remains have never been found, though an Alabama judge declared her legally deceased in 2012.

The young student was last seen in Aruba with Van der Sloot and another man. Her disappearance prompted an exhaustive investigation and intense media attention. Van der Sloot was previously arrested in the U.S. in the case but not charged.

Van der Sloot is accused of extortion and fraud for offering Holloway’s family false information about the whereabouts of the teenager, according to U.S. authorities.

Van der Sloot was convicted in 2012 to 28 years in prison in Peru after he confessed to beating, strangling and suffocating a 21-year-old Peruvian business student in 2010.

He will be returned to Peru to finish his sentence, Carlos Lopez, head of Interpol Lima, told reporters.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Lucinda Elliott; Editing by Peter Graff, Jonathan Oatis, Marguerita Choy and Cynthia Osterman)