Joran van der Sloot was a gambler.
Even as the young man was hounded by suspicions and cameras for his role in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway five years ago, he could be found at poker tables on two continents.
As he sat in a Chilean jail Thursday on charges that he murdered a young woman in Lima, Peru earlier this week, those who know him describe van der Sloot as an athletic and arrogant young man with a yearning for women and risk that led him across the globe.
Van der Sloot met Holloway when he was just 17 at a card table in Aruba. It was one of the last times she would be seen alive. Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in that case. Five years to the day -- on Sunday -- video cameras would show van der Sloot leaving a poker tournament in Lima with 21-year-old Stephany Flores.
On Tuesday, she was found with a broken neck and wrapped in a blanket at a Lima hotel just a few blocks from the casino. Two days later, van der Sloot's luck ran out when police in Chile detained the 22-year-old fugitive as he traveled between the resort town of Viña del Mar and the capital, Santiago.
Dressed in a black-hooded sweat shirt and with his brown hair closely cropped, van der Sloot was seen walking calmly and uncuffed into a Chilean police station escorted by three officers.
Van der Sloot's attorney in New York, Joe Tacopina, cautioned against rushing to judgment.
"Joran van der Sloot has been falsely accused of murder once before," Tacopina told The Associated Press. "The fact is he wears a bull's-eye on his back now and he's a quote-unquote usual suspect when it comes to allegations of foul play."
Also Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alabama received an arrest warrant against van der Sloot on wire fraud and extortion charges. Money was wired from a Birmingham institution in May to Joran van der Sloot after he requested $250,000 in exchange for the whereabouts of Holloway's remains and the circumstances relating to her death, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorneys office.
The information he provided was false, the release said.
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