It may not turn out to be the definitive answer Natalee Holloway's parents have been waiting nearly two decades for, but it's something.
This past summer, Joran van der Sloot, who was a suspect in their 18-year-old daughter's 2005 disappearance, was temporarily extradited from Peru—where he's been serving a 28-year prison sentence for the murder of Stephany Flores—to Alabama to face extortion and wire fraud charges.
He's accused of manipulating Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway, into paying him for information about her child's fate that he never provided. Now 35, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2010. And in his scheduled Oct. 18 court appearance, he's expected to plead guilty for extorting Beth as part of a plea agreement that requires him to reveal details into Natalee's presumed death, according to the family's attorney. (E! News has been unable to reach Van der Sloot's attorney or federal prosecutors for comment.)
"It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off," Beth, who's been divorced from Natalee's dad Dave Holloway since 1993, told NBC News this May in response to Van der Sloot's extradition. "Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee."
Van der Sloot has been locked up in Peru since 2010; Beth traveled to South America to confront him in jail that September, recalling years later that she found him "so pathetic."
"I almost saw him as this pathetic person," she said on Dr. Oz in 2017. "I didn't feel any hate."
Dave had previously expressed interest in making the trek as well, but in more recent years he concluded it would be "a waste of time."
"Beth, I don't blame her for going," he told E! News in 2021, "but she didn't get any answers, either...I would be wasting my time and effort doing the same."
Van der Sloot was arrested in Aruba early on during the course of the initial investigation into Natalee's May 30, 2005, disappearance but was never charged.
Scroll on for all the twists and turns the case has taken since the night Natalee Holloway vanished: