MANASSAS, Va. (WAVY) — Mary Ellen O’Toole remembers something familiar about Joran van der Sloot.
Long the only suspect in the 2005 death of Natalee Holloway on Aruba, van der Sloot finally told authorities this week what happened as part of a plea deal convicting him of trying to extort money from Natalee’s mother in exchange for information about her death.
O’Toole is a professor of forensic science with George Mason University. She was working as an FBI profiler back then, and the agency did not have jurisdiction on foreign soil. So Dutch authorities tapped her and a colleague as consultants, giving O’Toole access to their interviews.
“I saw that cold-bloodedness about him,” she said in a Thursday afternoon interview. “He did have some traits that I’m used to, that I’ve worked with before. He was very glib and charming. He was an extroverted person, and he could turn on the charm.”
“There was nothing there in terms of empathy for Natalee. He was very cold and very distant,” she said.
The Alabama teen was on a 2005 high school trip when she was killed, and van der Sloot was the last person to see her.
“The seriousness of the circumstances of her disappearance did not seem to make an impact on him, like it would with most people,” she said.
O’Toole had worked the Unabomber, Green River and Zodiac cases. She said she saw in van der Sloot true psychopathic behavior.
“They can be very engaging and you don’t realize what’s underneath,” O’Toole said, “so that’s a trait that’s consistent with a number of violent offenders.”
This week, van der Sloot finally gave details. Back in 2005 on an Aruban beach, Natalee refused his advances.
“I don’t know that she was attracted to him,” O’Toole said. “I think he approached her and at some point she went with him, and I’m not sure why because she was described as a quiet, introverted young woman.”
According to van der Sloot, Natalee kneed him in the groin, he kicked her and then bashed her head with a cinderblock and dragged her body into the sea.
But O’Toole believes there’s even more to be told.
“I don’t think that we got all the truth. (Psychopathic killers) want you to view them a certain way. They don’t go into all of the depraved aspects of the crime.”
As a profiler, O’Toole always wanted more.
“You want them to tell you everything, and they sit back and say — you can almost see it sometimes on their face — ‘I’m not telling you everything. This is my information. these are my victims. I’m going to the grave with it,'” she said.
Under the extortion plea deal, van der Sloot was sentenced to 20 years. He was already serving 28 years for killing another woman in Peru in 2010.