Luis Garavito is the worst serial killer the world has ever known and the scary thing is he will soon be free once again.
Luis Garavito grew up in a household that was severely violent and he experienced every type of abuse possible. At sixteen years old he left home and soon found employment that saw him traveling around Columbia but managed to keep a girlfriend
Due to the political climate in Columbia police did not realize that a large amount of vulnerable boys who went missing. Then police began to notice mass graves that were popping up
Luis Garavito targeted boys aged six to sixteen years old who were vulnerable. Luis either offered them money or an opportunity to work. Once the boys went off with him Luis would make them walk a great distance until they were tired and would attack. The boys would be bound, tortured, raped and then murdered.
At one of the mass graves police found a piece of paper that had the number of his girlfriend. The girlfriend told police she had not seen him in months. Luis Garavito would be arrested when he attempted to abduct a young boy and was seen by a homeless man who stopped the attack and notified police
Once in custody the police were able to get a confession from Garavito that he was the man that they were looking for but that was not enough for prosecutors so a DNA sample from Garavito was taken once he left his cell by swabbing some personal items. The DNA was matched to several crime scenes and victims
Luis Garavito would be found guilty of over a hundred counts of sexual assault and murders and would be sentenced to over 1800 years in prison. However Columbia has a weird law that states that an inmate can only serve forty years in prison but since Luis Garavito confessed to the murder that was knocked down to 22 years. Authorities in Columbia are trying to figure out how to keep him in custody beyond his current scheduled release date of 2021
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The utter disregard for human life that serial killers have is intriguing to some and terrifying to all. Throughout history, there have been thousands of individuals who have killed without compunction but few, if any, have murdered more people than Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos.
Officially, he murdered somewhere between 138 and 192 young boys, but it is possible that he killed 300-400. Despite the horrific nature of his crimes, the Colombian justice system’s maximum penalty of 30 years led to the possibility that Garavito could be released. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and ‘The Beast’ is unlikely to see the light of day again.
Luis Garavito was born in Genova, Quindío, Colombia on January 25, 1957. He was the oldest of seven brothers, and all of them had a terrible childhood due to the sickening actions of their alcoholic father. Garavito was subjected to physical and sexual abuse from a young age; at least this is what he claimed in interviews after he had been caught
At the age of 16, Garavito ran away from home to try and start a new life away from his abusive father. To find work, he had to travel all over Colombia. He began by working as a store clerk before he took to the streets to become a vendor who sold prayer cards and religious icons. Despite his constant traveling, Garavito had a girlfriend who also had a small child. By all accounts, Garavito treated the young child well, and his friends described him as a kind man but did note his volcanic temper.
In adulthood, Garavito continued his roaming lifestyle and moved from town to town in the search for work. He picked up his father’s alcoholic tendencies and was known to drink heavily and behave belligerently in every location until he wore out his welcome and went elsewhere. According to police reports, Garavito once attempted suicide and spent five years under psychiatric care.
It seems as if Garavito began his grotesque murder spree sometime in 1992. He was extremely careful in terms of who he picked as a victim. Practically all of his victims were boys aged 6-16 who were orphaned, peasants or homeless. He knew that these children were vulnerable and no one would report them missing. In most instances, Garavito would approach the boys and lure them away with small gifts or money. While he was careful in some cases by approaching them in the countryside, there were other occasions where he blatantly came up to them in crowded streets.
Garavito would also pretend to offer work to the boys and sometimes, he disguised himself as a ‘character’ to gain the trust of his victims. For example, Garavito dressed up as a priest, elderly man, drug dealer, or a farmer. To avoid suspicion, he changed his character regularly. Once he had the trust of the boys, they would set off on long walks until the children got tired. At that stage, they were easier to deal with. Garavito used these tactics hundreds of times until he was finally arrested in 1999.
Between 1992 and 1999, Luis Garavito preyed on innocent young boys throughout Colombia without fear of capture. When he was finally arrested, he admitted murdering boys in as many as 54 towns across the country. The combination of his constant traveling, disguises and the fact his victims often weren’t missed meant Garavito was able to do what he pleased for seven terrible years. It appears as if most of the murders took place near Pereira, his native region.
Once Garavito tired out his victims, he would tie them up before torturing and raping them. In some cases, he would cut off their genitals and stuff them in the victims’ mouths. Garavito also decapitated numerous boys. The bodies were usually discovered in shallow graves with several bite marks on them, and the crime scene was surrounded by bottles of liquor and lubricant. After his arrest, Garavito claimed that he was drunk when he killed the children and that his body had been taken over by a ‘superior being.’
Garavito’s spree remained a secret for several years even though clusters of bodies were found across Colombia. The problem was, few of the victims were even reported missing since they came from incredibly poor families. A lot of the boys were ‘street children’ that had been separated from their families during the Colombian Conflict which had begun in 1964. The political violence in the country had displaced an estimated 1.5 million people within the previous decade.
Sadly, the streets of Colombia’s towns were filled with hungry boys in tattered clothing, so when a seemingly kindly stranger approached, they were only too happy to have the chance to eat and perhaps sleep in a warm bed for the night. Once they went missing, nobody noticed. As a result, the criminal justice department paid little attention to the missing kids until a mass grave of Garavito’s alleged victims was found in a ravine in Pereira. The grave contained the bodies of 25 young boys and was discovered in November 1997.
This gruesome finding finally resulted in a widespread investigation and in February 1998, the bodies of two naked children were found beside one another on a hill outside the town of Genoa in Colombia. A third victim was discovered nearby the following day along with the murder weapon. The police also found a note at the scene with an address on it and the information led police to Garavito’s girlfriend.
Under questioning, she said she hadn’t seen Garavito in several months, but she was able to produce a bag which contained a number of his possessions. These belongings were proof of his guilt as they consisted of pictures of young boys, journals of the killings and ‘tally marks’ of his victims. The net was finally closing in on one of history’s worst serial killers.
As it transpired, Garavito had been in police custody before, back in 1996. On June 8 of that year, a young boy went missing in Boyaca, and his body was found five days later. His mother began a search and discovered that her son was last seen in a local shop with other kids and a man who bought them candy. Garavito was identified as the stranger and brought in for questioning by the police. He confessed to the purchase of the candy but claimed he left the boys alone. This was enough for the police who released The Beast, and he subsequently murdered a boy four days later.
After speaking with Garavito’s girlfriend, they were able to use the information to find his current residence, but it was vacant. However, local police arrested a man a few days later in the region on suspicion of attempted rape of a young boy. Garavito had attacked the boy, but a homeless man saw what was happening and rescued the child. The homeless man didn’t realize it at the time, but he had helped catch one of history’s most prolific killers.
Garavito was finally arrested on April 22, 1999, but his captors were initially unaware of his deeds. However, he cracked under questioning and confessed to dozens of murders. Along with the confession, the justice department had a mountain of evidence including Garavito’s DNA on the victims and a pair of glasses specifically designed for an eye condition the killer suffered from.
Ultimately, Garavito confessed to the murders of 140 children in Colombia and was charged with 172 counts of homicide. He was found guilty of 138 counts, and while his sentence should have been over 1,853 years in prison, Colombian law had a maximum prison sentence of 40 years (according to Article 37.1 of the Colombian Penal Code). Since he also cooperated with the police and showed them the location of some of the bodies, his sentence was reduced to 22 years.
This ludicrous state of affairs meant the specter of early release loomed large as Garavito is scheduled for release in 2021. Fortunately, it seems as if he will remain in prison for life because Colombian law also states that people who commit crimes against children don’t receive ‘any benefit with justice.’ Therefore, he will probably spend between 60 and 80 years in prison.
The exact number of Garavito’s victims will never be known, but it could be as high as 400 according to some estimates. At the time of writing, at least 27 of his victims can’t be identified. He also lived in Ecuador at some point in his life and has been linked to the murders of young boys there.
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