Colombia. We are at the end of the 90s when a casual discovery will lead, through a domino effect, to reveal a terrible reality that had remained hidden up until that moment, and which is meant to remain imprinted over the years as one of the most shocking stories in the nation.
The murders of the beast
September 17, 1997. Pereira, Colombian municipality. A young man is taking a walk near an isolated area when suddenly he comes across a series of bones apparently of human origin.
The boy warns the authorities, who arrive on the scene to carry out the investigations. The analyses confirm the initial impression: they are all remains of children, most likely killed and subsequently released in that place.
But that’s not all. Further searches led investigators to link these murders with 42 other remains found in similar circumstances in the previous months and years, initially considered to be isolated cases.
At this point doubts become certainties; a terrible killer who steals young lives is prowling Colombia, and to add concern he has been acting undisturbed for a long time.
The matter is getting more and more complicated and the investigations must be expedited but the whole situation fails to take off. It seems as if the police are actually hunting down an invisible creature that moves in the dark and able to disappear leaving no trace.
February 1998. Another dark day is expected when the news of the discovery of three other young bodies near the town of Génova arrives. The bodies show signs of physical violence, killed by a deep cut in the throat.
But something is found at the crime scene. A paper with an address leading the investigators directly to a girl’s house.
The woman is questioned and declares that she lives there with her boyfriend, but she hasn’t seen him for some time. She agrees to let the agents in and hands them a bag left behind by her partner containing very suspicious material inside, such as photographs of children and newspaper articles about the murders.
The boyfriend’s name is Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos, he is 41 years old and works as a street vendor.
He must be found immediately.
The task is not easy, as no one seems to have seen him for months. The searches continue and in April 1999 a turning point occurs, when a complaint is received for an attempted assault of a 12-year-old boy, who managed to escape. The episode has taken place in the Villavicencio area.
The police immediately surrounds the area and manages to intercept Luis Garavito attempting to escape.
Luis is subjected to lengthy interrogations, during which he confesses to be the author of the brutal murders that have terrorized Colombia for years.
He has started in 1992. His modus operandi includes an initial contact phase, to win the trust of the small and innocent victims with an excuse. He then takes them to an isolated place, tying them up and starting to torture them. The act ends with the killing by stabbing, sometimes even leading to beheading and various mutilations.
The total kill count is not quantifiable, but at least 138 will be ascertained. The total number could be higher than 200.
Born January 25, 1957 in Génova, eldest son of a family with seven children. His father is a grumpy and violent character who often mistreats his family members. In addition to the violence of his parent, Luis is also forced to suffer the tortures of his neighbor, who often shows up in their home abusing him.
After a troubled childhood, at 16 he leaves his family and begins working as a farmhand. In the meantime, he has developed an addiction to alcoholism; every night he gets inebriated and goes around looking for kids, towards whom feels a morbid attraction.
As time goes by he manages to create a stable relationship and moves in with a girl. It will not be enough to satisfy his instincts.
His obsession keeps growing and in a short time he arrives at an escalation of violence. The desire to rape and kill young victims grows in him. He then begins to organize his plan, studying in detail all his moves. By doing so, he will move in the shadows for 7 years leaving behind him a long chain of death.
At the end of the trial, the accused is found guilty of all 138 recognized murders. He is sentenced to 1853 years in prison, the longest sentence in Colombian history. However, in Colombia imprisonment is not possible for more than 40 years and early releases are possible in case of good behavior.
Lui Garavito is currently (2022) locked up in a maximum security prison in Valledupar. He spends his days in a solitary cell. People have reasons to think that an early release will be seriously evaluated in the upcoming years.
Nicknamed “The Beast” due to the cruelty of his actions, Luis Garavito is one of the most ferocious and sadistic serial killers of all time. His coldness and the number of victims killed are baffling. An ruthless killing machine, the true embodiment of inhumanity.