The most feared criminal in Colombia, Luis Alfredo Garavito has died of cancer. The 66 year-old criminal passed away in the New Santo Tomos del Caribe Clinic on October 12, 2023. Garavito committed unspeakable acts that have left an indelible mark on Colombia’s collective memory.
The Beast of Genova
Known as ‘The Beast’ or the ‘Monster of Genova,’ Garavito was one of the most notorious child killers in Latin America. His life was characterized by a series of atrocities that included the abuse and murder of over 200 children. His arrest in April 22, 1999 for attempting to kidnap a child in a market in Villavicencio, marked the beginning of the end of one of the darkest periods in Colombia’s history.
During his interrogation, he confessed to his crimes and revealed chilling details about the extent of his evil deeds. He was sentenced to 1,853 years in prison for crimes that included violent sexual acts, homicides, forcible rape, and kidnapping.
The Pain of Families
Garavito left a trail of devastation in Colombian society. Reports from the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation documented 172 children and adolescents who were abused and murdered at his hands.
Although he was officially sentenced to nearly two thousand years in prison, Colombian laws of the time limited his sentence to 40 years.
The Story of a Monster
The origins of Garavito’s depravity date back to his youth. At the age of 15, he harassed a child for the first time in the municipality of Genova, Quindio. However, it was not until 1992, at the age of 35, that he began his horrifying series of crimes in 13 Colombian departments and neighboring countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela.
During his time as a serial killer, Garavito developed a gruesome modus operandi: he lured his victims with candy or gifts and took them to remote areas to commit crimes that are difficult to describe.
A Prison End
During his lifetime, Ecuadorian authorities sought him for his alleged involvement in child murders in Ecuador, but the Colombian Supreme Court denied the extradition request, arguing that a person could not be tried twice for the same crime.
In 2016, Garavito gave an interview to Spanish journalist Jon Sistiaga in which he expressed his remorse. At the end of the interview, Sistiaga said to him, “For killing 200 children the sentence is light” To which Garavito replied, “Yes, I agree, for what I did, it’s very little.”
In November 1999, Garavito confessed to his crimes and apologized to the families of the victims. He claimed that he didn’t commit his crimes with full awareness, but that there was a “force” inside him driving him to harm. He also revealed that he had been a victim of abuse and torture in his own childhood, although no one had noticed the trauma he carried within.