Two Gringo Killers of Peruvian Women

Alternate Title: Joran van Der Sloot and William Trickett Smith II

Alternate Title: Gringo Treatment in Latin American Prisons

Joran van der Sloot, Peruana killer #1, in 2005

Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot grew up in Arruba a Dutch citizen and the son of a prominent lawyer. He played soccer and tennis at his private, English-language high school. His parents have said he was a manipulative liar as a child. He enjoyed academic and athletic success, but also grew a taste for casinos and partying on the Caribbean island.

At only 17 years old, Van der Sloot’s life would change after meeting Natalee Holloway, an American high school graduate from Alabama. They met in a nightclub and he took her to a local beach. She disappeared. They were seen leaving together so he was immediately a person of interest. His story changed several times. The investigation was botched.

Holloway was a beautiful Southern girl from a wealthy family an honors student who’d won a full ride to the University of Alabama. Her disappearance was a compelling news story and Van der Sloot gained international infamy as the spoiled Dutch brat who got away with killing the lovely Southern belle. Van der Sloot’s Dutch interviews set television records in the Netherlands. American networks did in-depth specials. Despite the international media attention, because of poor law enforcement and his father’s coaching, Van der Sloot was never charged.

Another Dutchman from Arruba, Patrick van der Eem, befriended Van der Sloot and solicited a video confession. Van der Eem’s depicted as a “concerned citizen” and patriot by the media (especially ABC News). I applaud the great video he got, but I can see through the patriot shit. This guy’s a stone cold hustler, involved in dope and illegal endeavors and criminal types. He targeted Van der Sloot, earning €25,000 for the video. Here’s Van der Sloot telling his “friend” what happened to Holloway:

Van der Sloot claimed he was lying to someone he thought was a drug dealer. The video was deemed insufficient to bring charges. I believe what he explains to Van der Eem is exactly what happened that night (see a longer version with more of the incriminating conversation, plus Van der Sloot hitting the joint as he tells the story).

Reading between the lines

The question remains: Why would Van der Sloot dump her body in the ocean just because she went into convulsions? Why take such a risk when he could just call an ambulance? My guess: he drugged her in the nightclub. She went into convulsions because he’d been drugging her drinks. A relatively clean Southern girl, she had no tolerance and overdosed. He knew medical tests would find whatever he gave her and he’d be held responsible. So he dumped her body before even confirming she was dead.

After dodging charges, Van der Sloot moved to the Netherlands to attend university. He soon transferred to a school in Bangkok, Thailand, the sex tourism capital of the world. Just as soon as he arrived he quit school again. He went independent. Given that he bought a pizza joint just off campus, I assume his parents were financing him. He also made money playing online poker, aspiring to become a professional poker player.

In addition to pizza and poker Van der Sloot posed as a model scout for Thai women, reportedly earning $13,000 for every girl he could sell into the Dutch sex industry. Thai authorities are investigating his involvement in trafficking underage girls.

If you’re not amazed at the audacity of a kid who barely avoids a murder charge immediately going to sell Thai girls into prostitution, you’ll surely be surprised at what he did next. To get revenge against the Holloway family for what he perceived as their persecution against him, Van der Sloot offered them the details of her death for $250,000. The family lawyer documented a payment of $10,000. Van der Sloot was indicted in the US for wire fraud and extortion.

Joran Van der Sloot in Peru

Before learning he was indicted, Van der Sloot flew to Lima for the Latin American Poker Tour. Partying in Miraflores on the Holloway’s money, Van der Sloot met Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez. She was ultimately found beaten and strangled to death in his hotel room.

By the time hotel staff found Flores’ body, Van der Sloot had slipped the border into Chile (read my Border Incident from the same Tacna-Arica crossing). As opposed to Holloway’s, Flores’ death was an open-and-shut case. The room was registered in Van der Sloot’s name. Hotel cameras show the two of them going into his room at night, and Van der Sloot leaving alone in the morning without checking out. His bloody baseball bat and tennis racket were in the room. Her car was found dumped across town, missing credit cards and cash.

Flores’ body was found on June 2. Chilean police arrested Van der Sloot on June 3. That’s light speed in Latin America, illustrating the degree of his fame and the effort of Interpol.

Van der Sloot was immediately shipped to Lima in bulletproof vest among a media circus. He confessed, explaining he killed Flores when she found details of the Holloway case on his computer and confronted him. He beat her and choked her in a fit of rage.

In short time Joran van der Sloot aged twenty years.

Van der Sloot retracted his confession, but it was futile. They had his laptop. The web activity from the evening she was killed corroborated his confession. They had his clothes with her blood. They had the hotel videos.

Van der Sloot received financial aid from his mother (his father died of a heart attack just prior to the Flores murder) and a silly Florida woman enamored with him. He put up a legal battle. However, Van der Sloot again caused the death of a girl with connections. Flores’ father is a well-known Lima businessman; he ran for vice president and president (with no chance of winning). He’s been using his influence to publicize the case and ensure Van der Sloot doesn’t walk.

Last week Joran van der Sloot plead guilty and was sentenced to 28 years in prison. His sentence was reduced by two years for his confession.

(More on Van der Sloot below, under ‘Gringo Treatment in Latin American Prisons’)


William Trickett Smith II

William Trickett Smith II, Peruana killer #2

William Trickett Smith II AKA “The Suitcase Killer” made Peruvian headlines when the chopped-up body of his wife was found in a suitcase off the coast of Barranco.

Unlike Van der Sloot, William Trickett Smith II is a complete moron. I attribute Van der Sloot’s trafficking Thai women or extorting the Holloway family after evading charges to his being psychotic. Nobody can deny Van der Sloot is intelligent. It took smarts and endurance to get away with that crime, with all the international attention and pressure. Smith, when considering his crime was premeditated and planned, is amazingly stupid.

Note: Smith’s story didn’t receive the attention Van der Sloot’s did. Given the undeveloped news archives of Peruvian media, the lack of press coverage in American media, and the sketchy nature of the sources for the Wikipedia article, the published facts are few and inconsistent. This is an aggregation of what’s consistent across the board.

William Trickett Smith met Jana Claudia Gomez Menendez on the internet. They married some five months later. Smith was a young, normal-looking young guy from rural Pennsylvania. Gomez was a beautiful Peruvian girl from Trujillo, described in this USA Today article as an “Internet bride.”

The couple married in March 2007. Smith still lived in Pennsylvania, returning for only short trips. In July 2007 Gomez left home to meet her husband in Lima. She never returned. Her family contacted Smith. He told them he hadn’t been in Peru. They reported her missing. Smith flew to Peru to appear concerned.

Peruvian police may have already been building a case against Smith when a historic earthquake rocked the region in August 2007, a month later. The day after the earthquake a blue suitcase was found on the coast in Barranco. Inside were the dismembered, partially decomposed remains of Gomez. She was identified by a butterfly tattoo on her neck, inspiring the names “La Enigma de la Mariposa” (The Butterfly Mystery) and “El Asesino de la Maleta” (The Suitcase Killer).

A week later William Trickett Smith II was arrested in Pennsylvania for violating his parole. I did a double-take at this. He’d made eleven trips to Peru while on parole. I was on supervised probation for five years. I wasn’t allowed to travel more than one county away from St. Louis (about two hours by car) without permission from my probation officer. Smith went to Peru eleven times without permission.

Smith had been convicted of selling cocaine and escaping police.

In searching his family’s house, US authorities found a mountain of evidence linking Smith to the murder, including clothes Gomez wore when she left Trujillo, her ID, and his computer with emails detailing his plans. He’d been asking Peruvian friends how to purchase drugs that put people to sleep, how to rent a boat anonymously, and how to rent a boat at night. He had her ID! He asked around how to rent a boat anonymously at night!

After reading these emails Peruvian police contacted Monica Cecilia Muñoz Pereda, a Lima girl Smith met online and had an “intimate relationship” with in the months after marrying Gomez. Muñoz told the events of a night when Smith asked her to go on a boat ride. Smith carried a large blue suitcase, which he said contained work documents. Fifteen minutes into the tour on a hired boat, Smith threw the suitcase overboard. He explained it’s an American tradition when finishing an old business to throw all the related documents into the ocean. He dumped the body in front of two witnesses!

Note: Muñoz and the boat driver were investigated. A grand jury cleared both, Muñoz by majority and the boat driver unanimously.

Already in custody, Smith went back to Pennsylvania state prison for violating his parole. In the meantime Peruvian authorities built their case and requested his extradition. He spent three years locked up in Pennsylvania before being extradited to Peru in August 2010.

William Trickett Smith II returns to Peru as “The Suitcase Killer.”

Smith was sent to the same section of the same prison as Joran van der Sloot, just a couple months after Van der Sloot arrived. Last year Smith plead guilty and was sentenced to the maximum 35 years.

Incomprehensible idiocy

William Trickett Smith II planned this murder. For somebody who’d been involved in crime for years, it’s unbelievable.

He traveled internationally eleven times while on parole. He married a girl just months after meeting her online. After realizing the mistake he made, whether he was embarrassed or enraged, he decided the best way out was to kill her.

Smith emailed Peruvians with questions explicitly related to his plan, leaving behind a paper trail and a slew of witnesses. He killed her when her family knew she was with him. His passport stamps and scanned passport bar code would confirm that he was in Peru at the time of her disappearance. He dumped her body in front of two witnesses. He flew back to the States, again stamping his passport on both ends, and told the family he was never in Peru. He kept her clothes and ID.

If this weren’t enough, Smith put her body in a suitcase where it would take years to decompose. Van der Sloot got away with the Holloway death largely because her body was never found. His island friend went far enough out in the sea before dumping her it’d be impossible to find her. The fish and salt water reduced her to nothing precisely because she wasn’t in a suitcase. Smith attached weights to the suitcase so it wouldn’t come up. It was dislodged with the earthquake, which was a tough break for his plan. But did he really think she’d remain un-found forever in a suitcase? This kid’s from the States. He’s seen CSI. Enough of Gomez’s body was still intact after over a month that she was identified by a tattoo. In that amount of time Holloway’s body was surely gone.

I can see why he needed the girl to help rent the boat – he didn’t speak Spanish. Still, instead of leaving two witnesses to the disposal of the body, you assume he’d think of a different plan. OR NOT KILL HER!

Reading between the lines

Pennsylvania authorities questioned how Smith traveled to Peru eleven times in such short time. For where he lived in upstate Pennsylvania, it would cost AT LEAST $11,000. Probably $20,000. Given his prior charges in the States, I’d bet the house he was hauling cocaine from Peru to Pennsylvania. The degree of stupidity in his plan is indicative of someone who’s awake for days snorting, or smoking or injecting, coke. His brain wasn’t resting. His perception of reality was diluted. Or maybe he was just born stupid. But then how did he finance all those trips?

Smith stuffed Gomez’s body in a suitcase and casually threw it overboard at sea. Even a tiny female weighs at least a hundred pounds. I’m big and strong and I’d have a hard time carrying around and tossing a one hundred pound suitcase casually as if it contained documents. Smith has a slight build. There’s no way he could casually carry around 100 lbs. Plus, he attached weights to the suitcase hoping it’d stay on the ocean floor. All this leads me to believe something that wasn’t reported anywhere – he must’ve drained her blood. After chopping her up but before stuffing her in the suitcase, he probably drained her blood in the hotel bathtub. There’s no way he could’ve casually carried around 100 lbs with one arm and even added weight.

Notable: The Suitcase Killer story in all its details broke in the second half of 2007. I moved to Peru in April 2008, and I’d never heard of Smith until I started researching the Van der Sloot story when he plead last week. I lived in Peru for a year and nobody gave me shit or even mentioned the gringo killer from The Butterfly Mystery just a year prior.

Also notable: William Trickett Smith’s II’s father, William Trickett Smith I, is a former Republican party leader marred by corruption.

Gringo Treatment in Latin American Prisons

The father of Stephany Flores is publicizing the favorable conditions her daughter’s killer enjoys in prison as a gringo with money. This video shows images of Van der Sloot’s 42” LCD television, Blu-Ray 3D DVD player, and iPhone with internet. It also shows his poxy Spanish, which he has plenty of time to improve.

This video’s also a good example of sensationalism in Latin media. The tone, sound effects, and content make Fox News look like the BBC.

Interest in prison conditions for Van der Sloot was sparked when this photo surfaced. An unidentified inmate poses with high profile foreign killers (from left) William Trickett Smith II, unidentified, Colombian sicario Hugo Trujillo Ospina (who killed an established Lima businesswoman), and Joran van der Sloot. They seem to be having a good time.

Van der Sloot was filmed buying marijuana inside the prison (the video’s not published online). He asks for a 5 soles bag. That’s less than $2, just over 3000 Colombian pesos.

You have to understand how prison works in Latin America. Brazilian film Carandiru illustrates how once inside, prison isn’t run by the guards but the inmates. For an extreme example in Hugo Chavez’s gutted Venezuela, see this NY Times video of Margarita Island prison. They have dancehalls, cock fighting, pools for kids, good food, drugs, whores and conjugal visits, advanced weaponry, and more. A British inmate: “This is the best jail in the world.”

That’s how The Mick describes life in La Modelo in the 1980s. He says prison was the only time he never ran out of marijuana. There were always drugs, and whores were regularly brought in.

On the other hand I have a correspondence with Christopher K, who’s locked up in a Brazilian prison reserved for foreigners. I asked him to contribute a story but he said not much happens. Not even fights. Everybody was a tourist who got in trouble. They hail from North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. Everywhere but Brazil. Everybody gets free Portuguese classes (see Christopher K stories).

Currently these gringo killers of Peruvian women are separated from general population. I don’t know what will happen later. Van der Sloot’s been sentenced to Piedras Gordas high-security penitentiary. But will he be put in general population? Maybe the Colombian would be OK, but I assume both Joran van der Sloot and William Trickett Smith II wouldn’t last a month. Will they be separated for 30 years though? Is there a section for foreigners? Surely they’ll keep their luxuries.

Peruvian law says that with work or study, all these killers can be let free after half their time served. If they maximize their work/study credit, both Van der Sloot and Smith could be released while still in their forties.



  1. I think that, apart from the fact that these are – albeit very gruesome – isolated and ultimately trivial cases, these two stories show us how easily some Peruvian women can fall for some gringo pieces of shit.

    Centuries of colonialism and forced racial self-hate probably got a thing to do with that, apart from the obvious wealth issue, gringos tend to be automatically associated with ‘good education’, ‘respect’ and ‘safety’ while Peruvian guys get the exact opposite image.


  2. “This guy’s a stone cold hustler, involved in cocaine and illegal endeavors and criminal types. I know the type well, and he reeks of it.”

    “I’d bet the house he was hauling cocaine from Peru to Pennsylvania. The degree of stupidity in his plan is indicative of someone who’s awake for days snorting coke. His brain wasn’t resting. His perception of reality was diluted.”

    For some reason these guys remind me of the lawyer Sean Penn played in Carlito’s Way. Very smart guys who used their intelligence to get themselves neck deep in a world of shit. Lots of drugs involved.

    “I assume both Joran van der Sloot and William Trickett Smith II wouldn’t last a month in general population before they’re killed.”

    Why do you think they’ll be killed? Do you think all of the killers, robbers, dopers, and rapists are going to be apalled that these two guys killed some rich chicks? If anything they’ll probably be respected more. I think at the worst they might be extorted a little bit, if that.

    Great post, very interesting read.


  3. Great insight. It would be great if you could work this into some investigative reporting. There is very little writing about expats around the world, what they do, what they’re like and why they do what they do.

    These are two horrible examples, but there’s a full range of expat work, from missionaries to lowlifes. I’d love to see more of your writing in this area.

    Good stuff!


  4. Ash – Here’s an El Comercio article talking about three Peruvian women killed by three foreigners in three years. (the other one was from Morocco)
    So they’re starting to spread the word to be careful.

    Matthew – These were both top news stories. It only takes one killer (in prisons housing ten thousand or more) to have nationalist sentiments against either gringo. I imagine there are dozens who’d like to make a name for themselves killing these guys. Or it’s very cheap for ANYONE to contract a killing from outside. Also, the Flores girl was rich but not Gomez. She was the daughter of a prison guard.

    Andrew – Investigative reporting may be possible if this becomes a full time job – read full time salary 🙂


  5. Another interesting article Colin. Obviously both of these pricks are psychopaths. A very scary mental condition that i have read about previously. Apparently they have no ethical or moral compass at all. Zero. None. I am not a proponent of capital punishment but i do think that if these two were dealt some horrible treatment in jail it would be justified. And if they died before they were released, all the better. and by die, i mean a slow agonizing death. Hopefully involving torn rectums.


  6. @ Colin. The fuck, never knew about this third story but I think I’ve already spoken to this Moroccan guy before, if it is actually him (and there aren’t that many moroccans in Peru …) this is some really crazy shit…


  7. I am surprised these dudes weren’t terminated already. Maybe they have a certain form of protection that will diminish after their stories fade, and they can be killed more quietly.

    Committing heinous crimes in foreign countries seems to be an exceptionally poor idea. I have always been taught to fear latin american prisons extensively.

    I think I will continue to do so.


  8. well, peruvian women love white guys so if you’re white you are in heaven, you got it made, they either want you for your money, your looks or a green card or all of the above. love? uhmmm better double check who you fall in love with…Peruvian women are street smart…just a good advise for you gringos who are looking for love on the internet.


  9. I read this article a few weeks ago. Came to Pereira to visit my lady and get married. For about the last…9 ot 12 months her older sister has hated me, and her other sisters and brothers aren’t particularly fond of me. Apparently, they hear stories like this and have put me in the group of “locos gringos”. I will admit, my temper isn’t the greatest, but never have a laid a hand on my lady or her daughter. Never have I yelled. In fact, I don’t even lie. Her family doesn’t know of her former “job” in Cartagena, so they think I’m some random gringo who came into her life with money. They don’t know the life she was living or about the danger she was potentionally putting her self in night after night. So I’m the crazy one who is appertaly going to murder her once she is in the states after two years of work and helping her….crazy latinas.


  10. Marriages between american gringo men and peruvian women simply do not workl!The cultures and mentalities between the two nationalities are just so completely different!!!I personally as a north american man simply cannot see how any peruvian woman would fall for a gringo man!I mean we’re ugly,ignorant and generally do not know how to please a true latin woman period!These ignorant american dorks think that they’re going to score big well they’re sadly mistaken indeed!No marriage between an american gringo man and a peruvian woman lasts for long!Peruvian women are better off with their own men etc!Stop marrying gringo men it’s a waste of time and it simply will not work out at all!


  11. Check your facts before writing something in the hopes of working towards a career in investigative journalism. There was a lot of press about the Smith case for months. At least two key facts the press and the court documents reveal that you falsely report on: 1) his wife’s body was found in tact and according to the court transcripts, the autopsy could not determine the cause or timing of her death and 2) Smith and his wife knew each other for more than a year before they married — check out the interviews from her family. While this was a horrendous crime, no one still knows what really happened. But, reporting false information to lead the reader to believe one version is not credible investigative journalism.


  12. John – Send me ONE link verifying ANY of those points from ANY source, English or Spanish, and you’d be credible. You won’t find one. I researched this article for hours.

    And I’m not trying to establish myself as credible investigative journalism anyway.


  13. I have felt for some time that Van Der Sloot was a sex trafficer, and have said as much- to anyone that would listen. This is common sense if you follow the clues. Holloway’s body has never been found and he took her body out to sea in a boat?! He killed the Brazilian woman for looking at information on his laptop?! What was on that laptop that was so damning? Middle Eastern men have held American women against their will before- under the ruse of being ‘models.’ The Japanese mafia are reported to pay big bucks for blonde American women. This seems like common sense to me. But than, I worked in investigations for 8 yrs; and I have common sense.


  14. I can tell you how Will paid for those trips. His thieving father. His dad is a former lawyer who has spent time in jail. Will is not from upstate either. Coke head is right. He is truly getting everything he deserves


  15. I always thought Natalie might have just ODed on coke while partying, and JVDS did not know what to do and dumped the body.


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