In December, I was traveling through Pereira, Colombia with my family. While I was there, I learned that Pereira was home to a grisly crime.

In 1998, the remains of 27 children were found in a vacant lot. Upon further inspection, the bodies were similar to others that were being found in Colombia at the time. Eventually, when all the numbers were tallied, around 150 bodies were found: they were all boys between the ages of 9 and 19. A few years later, an arrest was made regarding the case and the world was introduced to the most prolific serial killer of all time – Luis Garavito.

Out of curiosity, I did a little research. Here’s a list of the four worst serial killers of all time, as well as their countries of birth:

  1. Luis Garavito – Colombia
  2. Pedro Lopez – Colombia
  3. Giovanni Brusca – Italy
  4. Damiel Camargo – Colombia

This obvious question…What the hell is going on in Colombia? Why are they producing these killers?

1.) Luis Garavito “La Bestia” (The Beast)

Luis Garavito is the most notorious serial killer in modern history: 147 confirmed murders.

Garavito was a 42 year-old Colombian man of normal appearance.  He would lure young street children away, promising to give them work, candy, etc. Then he would rape, torture and strangle them. Garavito later said that he believed he was “possessed by demons.” He blamed his perverse nature on a physically abusive father.

Garavito is convicted of killing 147 young boys however, it’s believed that he killed a total of 400. The numbers are staggering. By comparison, Ted Bundy was convicted of killing 30 people. So Garavito had 117 more confirmed victims than Ted Bundy.

But it gets worse…meet serial killer #2.

2.) Pedro Lopez (“The Monster of the Andes”)

Pedro Lopez is estimated to have killed 350 young girls…and he is currently a free man!

Lopez was also born in Colombia; in 1983, was convicted of killing at 110 young girls. However, much like Garavito, the suspected numbers are much higher (Lopez is believed to have killed around 350 young girls in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru). Lopez would abduct girls from the mountain villages of Peru and Ecuador. Then he would sexually assault and strangle them.

Like Garavito, Lopez also had a problematic childhood; in particular, he was repeatedly raped and sodomized as a young man.  What’s more unbelievable about his story is that Lopez is currently out of jail. Colombia has some of the most lenient laws in the world, so Lopez was released from prison in 2002. He served only 14 years for killing over 100 women (roughly four months for every victim).

And finally, we have another monster…

3.) Daniel Camargo Barbosa

Daniel Camargo is the third (first?) in a line of diabolical serial killers from Colombia.

Camargo is estimated to have raped and killed around 150 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador during the 1970s and 1980s. It was in Ecuador that Camargo committed the majority of his murders. Camargo would ask young women for help, pretending that he was a man in need of directions. They would walk together to a rural area where Camargo would subdue, rape, and kill them.

Like Garavito and Lopez, Camargo blamed his behavior on his turbulent upbringing. He was raised by an abusive stepmother that would dress him up in women’s clothing. Thankfully, Camargo was not only caught, but murdered in prison. So justice was properly administered in at least one of these cases.


So why does Colombia have so many serial killers? The answer is complex…I’m not really sure. Was it their upbringing? Perhaps. But then again, many people that suffer abuse (both emotional and sexual) grow up to be law-abiding citizens. Was it their environment? Perhaps. But then again, many people in Colombia are normal and well adjusted.

Only one thing is obvious…Colombia needs a death penalty! All three of these men should be dead. No, not just dead…tortured and chopped up into little pieces. It’s what they deserve. The pain and anguish they have caused the victims, not to mention their families, can scarcely be imagined. I’m afraid that the leniency of Colombian law has backfired on its people.

To quote Nietzsche: “A small revenge is more human than no revenge at all.”

See Related Article: Book Review: 200 Years Together by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

3 thoughts on “Why Does Colombia Produce So Many Serial Killers?

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