Beth Holloway and Joran van der Sloot
Joshua Roberts/Landov; Karel Navarro/AP
09/02/2011 at 07:35 PM EDT
With no justice yet for her own daughter, Beth Holloway cautiously cheered yesterday’s decision by authorities in Peru to bring murder charges against
Joran van der Sloot – long suspected in Natalee Holloway’s disappearance – for the murder last year of a young woman in Peru.
"God bless the Peru authorities for handling this thoroughly and professionally," Holloway tells PEOPLE exclusively. "They have faced criticism and threats of lawsuits from the defendant's side, but they have stuck to their guns and I say good for them."
Van der Sloot, 24, faces 30 years in prison if convicted of killing Stephany Flores, 21, in May 2010. In an earlier reported confession
, the Dutchman said he grew enraged and attacked Flores in his hotel room after she glanced at his laptop and discovered his link to the Holloway case. He has since claimed temporary insanity, his lawyer has said.
Beth Holloway has long faulted authorities for failing to act quickly after Natalee vanished on a 2005 trip to Aruba, possibly overlooking early evidence and allowing suspects to go free. Although van der Sloot – then a resident of the Caribbean island and the last known person seen with Natalee – was briefly detained, he was never formally charged. He has floated several scenarios about his involvement, none of which authorities could nail down.
It's a different picture in Peru, where Flores was found bludgeoned in van der Sloot's hotel room after he fled and police moved quickly to capture him.
“It's clear that there is a mountain of evidence to back up this murder charge and the authorities did a good job of processing the crime scene and making sure the details were in place, so perhaps now justice will be served,” says Holloway. “And maybe the Flores family will have some feeling of relief in that."
The Natalee Holloway Resource Center, which Beth Holloway co-founded to help families of missing loved ones, is currently is involved with the family of Robyn Gardner, another American who recently went missing in Aruba. However, in that case, Aruban authorities focused early on her American traveling companion, Gary Giordano, who was recently ordered to be detained for another 60 days