A Florida man who claimed in a TV interview to have helped cremate Natalee Holloway’s remains back in 2010 was fatally stabbed with his own knife during an attempted kidnapping Wednesday.
John Christopher Ludwick was stabbed in North Port, Florida, after trying to kidnap a woman as she was exiting her driveway. He fled from the scene on foot; police officers later found him on a nearby road and flew him to the local hospital, where he died, North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor tells Rolling Stone.
“The autopsy was done [Thursday] morning and it was completely consistent with her rendition,” he says. “Also, there were many eyewitnesses that saw the struggle” that took place “around a quarter to seven in the morning” Wednesday.
Ludwick’s connection to the Holloway case also adds an additional layer to his death, and Taylor says his office has passed along what information they have to the team that has been looking into Holloway’s 2005 disappearance from Aruba for more than a decade.
Here’s what we know about Ludwick’s death and his ties to the Holloway case.
Ludwick and the woman knew each other.
According to Taylor, the Ludwick and the woman were roommates from “months and months ago,” and the crime may have been the result of a soured relationship. “He apparently was trying to make advances, [and] she wanted nothing to do with him,” he says. “She blocked his phone calls, but he was finding other ways to get in touch with her, like using someone else’s Facebook. She said she told him, ‘If you don’t stop bothering me, I will call the police.’ He said, ‘You sealed your fate.'” Taylor adds that the North Port police department had not received any reports about Ludwick’s behavior prior to the Wednesday incident.
He was stabbed by his own knife.
According to the woman’s account to the North Port police department, Ludwick had a knife on him when he attacked her, but she managed to wrestle the weapon away from him and stab him multiple times “in the torso area.” “We found the sheath to the knife in his backpack that he ran away with,” Taylor says. “It seems like she nicked an artery.” The woman received a small laceration on her hand, likely from grabbing the knife away from Ludwick, but she refused any further treatment. Taylor says the police “do not anticipate any charged pressed toward her.”
Ludwick was “very vocal” about his alleged involvement in the Natalee Holloway case.
He first made headlines last year after appearing on an Oxygen TV series, The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, in which he claimed to have helped a Dutch man named Joran van der Sloot cremate Holloway’s body. (Van der Sloot was the last person to see Holloway alive, but he was never charged with her death). According to Taylor, the woman told police that Ludwick would go “on and on” about his involvement in Holloway’s disappearance . Additionally, Ludwick’s Facebook cover photo is an image of him and Van der Sloot together. In the Oxygen interview, Ludwick claimed Van der Sloot paid him $1,500 to dig up Holloway’s body and cremate her remains in 2010, five years after Holloway’s disappearance.
He did not have any prior criminal records in Charlotte County, where his hometown of Port Charlotte is located.
Despite Ludwick’s very public proclamation about his ties to the Holloway case, the police did not flag Ludwick as someone to watch. According to Taylor, the FBI was aware of the aired TV interview, but had doubts about the veracity of Ludwick’s claims because he and a friend were trying to promote their story, and they didn’t want to give him the attention.
Van der Sloot, the only other lead in the Holloway case, is currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated murder.
In 2010, Van der Sloot murdered a young woman in Peru, five years to the day after Holloway’s death. He’s currently in prison in a facility just north of Lima. Van der Sloot became the prime suspect in Holloway’s case following the then-18-year-old’s much-publicized disappearance in Aruba back in 2005. She was declared legally dead in 2012.