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Joran Van der Sloot: How he's spent the past five years

Joran Van der Sloot: His last five years make up a tale of dissolution, deception and increasing desperation according to friends and people who have chronicled his life.

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He relocates to Holland but, perpetually accosted, can't live a normal university student's life. He settles in Thailand, where he studies business without earning a degree. He buys a coffee shop.

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In February, his prominent lawyer father collapses and dies of a heart attack on an Aruba tennis court at age 57. Van der Sloot flies home, lingering there after the funeral.

Then he moves. Strapped for cash, he obtains $25,000 from Holloway's mother in exchange for a promise to lead her to her daughter's body. The FBI secretly records the alleged extortion but Van der Sloot is not arrested.

Instead, he heads off to Lima to play poker. He kills Flores, Peru's police say, after a night of poker with her at a casino in which he had about 10 drinks of whiskey and pisco while she drank wine. The evidence against him is so overwhelming, they say, that he has no choice but to confess.

But what motivated Van der Sloot, as his signed confession describes, to slam Flores in the face with his right elbow, strangle her for a full minute, then take off his shirt and asphyxiate her?

In the confession, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, he says Flores threw the first blow.

The two were playing online poker on his laptop, said Van der Sloot, when an insulting message arrived mentioning the Holloway case and saying, "I'm going to kill you, you little Mongoloid." He said that after he explained the Holloway disappearance and how he'd been accused of it, she punched him on the left side of his head.

There is no mention in the confession about Flores and Van der Sloot having sexual relations. Police say there is no evidence of sexual abuse.

Peru's criminal police chief, Gen. Cesar Guardia, says he's skeptical about Van der Sloot's story. The defendant is, after all, a person who described himself as "a pathological liar" in a 2007 book he co-wrote when several of the figures in the Holloway saga cashed in on the case with published accounts.

Asked about his motive for killing Flores, Van der Sloot told his questioners he didn't really know. "I lost control of my actions," the confession quotes him as saying. "I didn't know what I was doing."

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Van der Sloot's Facebook picture is a near-empty bottle of Johnny Walker Red whisky, corked, with a powerboat at rest in the ocean as a backdrop.

He likes the rapper Notorious B.I.G. and pop singer Katy Perry, the TV show South Park. He has 160 kills in the game "Mob Wars, Texas Hold'em Poker, Heineken beer and Barack Obama.

On his DateInAsia.com profile page, created when he was living in Thailand, he says he is attractive, agnostic, a smoker, regular drinker and a former professional card player. He retired from cards, he says, because it's "too much stress and ups and downs."

In the sleepy Bangkok suburb of Muang Ake, he attended Rangsit University in 2008 as a business major but dropped out and bought the Sawadee Cup cafe just off the campus, which served sandwiches and pizza.