vrijdag 2 juli 2010

Father of slain Peruvian student hopes others learn from her death

Lima, Peru (CNN) -- Hours after he spoke to a judge for the first time about his daughter's killing, Stephany Flores' father told family and friends at a memorial service that he hoped others would learn from her death.

Ricardo Flores said Wednesday he had sheltered his children too much from the evils of the world.

"Sometimes we're wrong, and I have been wrong a lot. Because I have permitted my kids to know the good, and not the bad. My kids have everything, but also we have to take away from them sometimes," he said. "Don't commit the error that I made."

Authorities say 21-year-old Stephany Flores was killed a month ago. Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot was charged with first-degree murder and robbery after authorities found Flores' body in a Lima, Peru, hotel room registered to him.

Ricardo Flores, who helped search for his daughter when she didn't come home May 30 after a night out at a casino, gave a formal statement about the facts surrounding the case to a judge Wednesday.

Later in the day, about 300 people gathered at a Lima temple for the memorial service. Peru's National Police Chorus sang "Eternal Love" while a slideshow of photographs flashed on a projector screen. Longtime friends remembered Stephany Flores as "a great friend" with a "contagious smile."

Stephany Flores came from a privileged family, but was a humble person who was extremely giving, friends told CNN.

She once wrote a list of 23 businesses that she wanted to do well in, and then checked them off one by one as she decided whether she was really interested in pursuing them.

At the time of her death, Flores had told her friends she was the happiest she had ever been, they said.

Van der Sloot was twice arrested in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, but he has not been charged in that case.

Police said van der Sloot admitted that he attacked Flores on May 30 after she read an e-mail in his computer connected with the Holloway case.

After killing Flores, police say, van der Sloot took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested June 3.

He was returned the next day to Peru.

Van der Sloot is being held at the Miguel Castro Castro Prison in a high-security area where only two of the 10 cells are occupied. He has no contact with the general prison population.

Van der Sloot's attorney filed an appeal Wednesday to a ruling that upheld the admissibility of his client's confession and the legality of his detention.


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