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The story of Garavito, the Colombian “Dahmer” who murdered more than 170 children –  Although it may seem hard to believe, the horrendous crimes of the “Monster of Milwaukee” Jeffrey Dahmer are few compared to those of Luis Alfredo “The Beast” Garavito. In recent days, the controversial Netflix series about ‘the Milwaukee monster’ has aroused curiosity about Jeffrey Dahmer’s past, the truth is that like this criminal in the United States, other perverse minds in Latin America seemed to enjoy the suffering of the more defenseless. One of the most difficult stories that the Colombian people suffered in the 90s was the chain of crimes against minors committed by Luis Alfredo Garavito. 

According to the prosecution, the nicknamed “The Beast” would have murdered more than 170 minors, although he himself confessed to taking the lives of more than 200 people.

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“I apologize to God, to you and to all those whom I have made suffer,” said Garavito at the beginning of his confession amid harrowing descriptions of the most terrifying crimes ever heard by Colombian justice. “I am responsible for the death of 140 children,” he commented on that occasion before the court that was prosecuting him for the death of 172 minors in 2001.

However, in his own words in some interviews he has said that the figure could easily exceed 200 because he murdered adults, and it is believed that he also committed similar crimes in Ecuador and Venezuela.

Coincidences at the time of killing The subject confessed that everything started in 1992, and that his modus operandi was almost always the same. The similarities with several serial killers confirm the theory of premeditation, since both Dahmer and Garavito selected their victims.

It all started with friendly and convincing talks that ended up dragging defenseless young people to places where it was easier for murderers to commit their misdeeds. Unlike Dahmer, Garavito acted very close to the schools in rural towns where the proximity of the countryside allowed him to lure children into the vegetation at the point of trickery.

In the place he tied them up and tortured them, as Garavito himself declared to the prosecution. The documents of the crimes narrate signs of sexual abuse, beheadings and various mutilations, among other dark details where the minors ended up dead without the slightest possibility of escaping.

Garavito’s obsession and his chain of terror took place over almost 7 years throughout the national territory, the subject had time to move from one region to another without being detected by the authorities, 13 departments to be exact. Garavito even kept a diary of his horrendous crimes and has commented in interviews that he never buried the creatures.

“He asked their names, he gave them candy, he invited them to walk,” Garavito told the agents when they asked him how he perpetrated the murders. The hook almost always worked, and as he found himself more alone and removed from society with his victim, he became more ruthless. According to the official report of the prosecution, Garavito began to walk through the neighboring schools to his house in the department of Cauca.

“I felt an impulse, I never planned such an event. Everything happened suddenly, ”she commented in statements to the authority. The prosecution’s reports also indicate that Garavito hid behind alcohol while he entered a phase of madness, similar to Jeff Dahmer, who also drank and used illicit substances.

Garavito acted as a kind of tamer over his victims, tying them up so that he could touch their bodies, which gave him a certain pleasure. In similar situations, Dahmer also subdued his victims, threatened them with knives and the defenseless were practically at his service.

the past does not forgive

Most of the cases of serial killers documented throughout history, not only in Latin America, but also in the United States and Europe, tend to bring with them the reflection of a childhood disturbed by domestic violence.

Some were abandoned by their parents, while others, as in the case of Dahmer , lived in a home where the mother and father constantly verbally abused each other, which ended up causing their separation. The case of Garavito Cubillos is not very far from this picture of domestic violence. 

He was the oldest of 7 siblings and spent his childhood next to his parents, Manuel Antonio and Rosa Delia. According to the description of “the Beast”, his father beat him mercilessly when he was still very young. Garavito, who went through two psychiatric hospitals, says that his father abused him from a very young age.

Freedom for Garavito?

Although for many the possibility of a criminal like Garavito regaining his freedom sounds crazy, in 2021 the Colombian justice system received a petition that paralyzed the country.

A letter in the handwriting of Inpec officials (National Penitentiary and Prison Institute) asked to consider parole for “The Beast.” “With all due respect to your office, I am addressing the documentation of Mr. Garavito Cubillos, Luis Alfredo, in compliance with the orders issued by the North Regional Directorate of Inpec, so that his office can study and verify what concerning the granting or not of the subrogated parole in favor of the referenced one”, the document limits. César Fernando Caraballo, former director of the Valledupar Maximum and Medium Security Penitentiary, signed that letter, which caused public repudiation that included a condemnatory letter from the president himself at the time, Iván Duque .

“That beast is a bandit, a criminal. He is a stinking rat who has done nothing but harm children in our country. And the destiny of that criminal is to continue in jail,” said Duque.

According to his own confession, Garavito committed the acts more than 140 times, although justice ruled his sentence based on evidence of more than 170 crimes committed in Risaralda, Caldas, Antioquia, Cundinamarca, Valle, Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo, Boyacá, Meta, Casanare, Guaviare and Quindio. On April 22, 1999, his wave of terror ended, Garavito was captured by the police when he was preparing to murder another child in a rural area of ​​the city of Villavicencio.

Garavito, in addition, was requested in extradition by Ecuador accused of murdering four other minors in its territory. In 2001, Garavito Cubillos received the highest sentence on record in Colombia.

 “The Beast” was sentenced to 1853 years and 9 days in jail. It was later commuted to 40 years for his collaboration in identifying other serial killers. After serving 20 years of his sentence, Garavito received a reduced sentence for good behavior, and for some studies he carried out while in prison. Thanks to a prompt action by the prosecution, in 2018 his release was prevented.

Garavito, 65, is serving his sentence in a maximum security pavilion at La Tramacúa prison in Valledupar. Local media reported in 2020 that he suffers from leukemia, for which the subject had to be taken to the local hospital from the emergency room.

To this day, Garavito speaks naturally about his crimes, and not the slightest feeling of regret is palpable, his answers are calculated, frivolous and direct.

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