November 1, 1962|
Miami, Florida, USA
|Died||May 6, 1989
Cause of death
|Other names||The Godfather of Matamoros (El Padrino de Matamoros)
The Witch Doctor
Span of killings
|1986–March 28, 1989|
Biography and Beginnings
Constanzo was born in Miami, Florida to a Cuban immigrant mother in 1962. She gave birth to Adolfo at the age of 15, and eventually had three children of different fathers. She moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, after her first husband died, and she remarried there. Constanzo was baptized Catholic and served as an altar boy, but also accompanied his mother on trips to Haiti to learn about Voodoo. As a teenager, he became apprenticed to a local sorcerer, and began to practice a religion called Palo Mayombe, which involves animal sacrifice. The family returned to Miami in 1972, and his stepfather died soon after leaving the family with some money. His mother soon remarried and his new stepfather was involved in the religion and drug dealing. Constanzo and his mother were arrested numerous times for minor crimes like theft, vandalism, and "farderismo” (shoplifting, concealing goods between their clothing). He graduated from high school but was expelled from prep school. His mother believed he had psychic abilities for supposedly having foretold the attempted assassination of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
When he was an adult, he moved to Mexico City and met the men who were to become his followers: Martin Quintana, Jorge Montes, and Omar Orea. They began to run a profitable business casting spells to bring good luck, which involved expensive ritual sacrifices of chickens, goats, snakes, zebras, and even lion cubs. Many of his clients were rich drug dealers and hitmen who enjoyed the violence of Constanzo's "magical" displays. He also attracted other rich members of Mexican society, including several high-ranking corrupt policemen, who introduced him to the city's powerful narcotics cartels.
Constanzo started to raid graveyards for human bones to put in his nganga or cauldron, but before long, he would need live human sacrifices instead of old bones. Over twenty victims, whose mutilated bodies were found in and around Mexico City, are thought to have met their end this way.
Constanzo began to believe that his magic spells were responsible for the success of the cartels, and demanded to become a full business partner with one of the most powerful families he knew, the Calzadas. When his demand was rejected, seven family members disappeared. Their bodies turned up later with fingers, toes, ears, brains, and even - in one case - the spine missing. Constanzo soon made friends with a new cartel, the Hernandez brothers. He also took up with a young woman named Sara Aldrete, who became the high priestess of the cult. In 1988, Constanzo moved to Rancho Santa Elena, a house in the desert. It is there that he carried out more sadistic ritual murders, sometimes of strangers, and other times of rival drug dealers. He also used the ranch to store huge shipments of cocaine and marijuana.
On March 13, 1989, Constanzo made a major mistake. While looking for "fresh meat," Constanzo's henchmen abducted a student, Mark Kilroy, from outside a Mexican bar and took him back to the ranch. Kilroy was a U.S. citizen who had been in Mexico on Spring Break. When Kilroy was brought to the ranch, Constanzo brutally murdered him. Under pressure from Texan politicians, Mexican police initially picked up four of Constanzo's followers, including two of the Hernandez brothers. Police quickly discovered the cult and that Constanzo had been responsible for Kilroy's death. Officers raided the ranch, discovering Constanzo's cauldron, which contained various items such as a dead black cat and a human brain. Fifteen mutilated corpses were dug up at the ranch, one of them Mark Kilroy's. Officials said Kilroy was killed by Constanzo with a machete chop to the back of the neck when he tried to escape about 12 hours after being taken to the ranch.
Constanzo had fled to Mexico City with four of his followers. They were only discovered when police were called to the apartment because of a dispute taking place there. As the officers approached, Constanzo opened fire with a machine gun, but soon realized that he was surrounded. Determined not to go to prison, he handed the gun to follower Alvaro de Leon and ordered him to open fire on him and Martin Quintana. By the time police reached the apartment, both Constanzo and Quintana were dead. De Leon, known as "El Duby," and Sara Aldrete were immediately arrested.
A total of fourteen cult members were charged with a range of crimes, from murder and drug running to obstructing the course of justice. Sara Aldrete, Elio Hernandez, and Serafin Hernandez were convicted of multiple murders and were ordered to serve prison sentences of over sixty years each. De Leon was given a thirty-year term.
- Abel Lima "El Sodomita de Iztapalapa" (Alleged suspect for the kidnappings in the mid-90s).
- Rubén Estrada "Patitas Cortas"
- Christian Campos "El Panzas"
- Emmanuel Romero "El Trompas"
- Saúl Sánchez "El Macaco"
- Ricardo Peña "El Cepillín"
On July 13, 2013, the Investigation Discovery Channel profiled this crime in its "Poisoned Passions" series. The episode is titled "Sacrificial Evil."
- The band Pain Teens, Sacrifical Shack is from the point of view of a cult member after being captured and taking them to the shack.
- Borderland, a 2007 film loosely based on Constanzo and his cult.
- Brujería, a death metal band whose lyrics focus on Satanism, anti-Christianity, sex and drug smuggling, put a picture of a severed head (later nicknamed Coco Loco) in their album Matando Güeros. The head is believed to be of a victim of Adolfo Constanzo cult.
- Japanese doom metal band Church of Misery reference Constanzo in their song El Padrino (Godfather, in Spanish). It appears on their Houses of the Unholy album, each song being about a serial killer/mass murderer.
- Danish Psych/Noise Rock band Narcosatanicos is allegedly named after the cult headed by Constanzo.
- Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 88. ISBN 0760775664.
- Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 89. ISBN 0760775664.
- Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 90. ISBN 0760775664.
- Applebome, Peter (April 13, 1989). "Drugs, Death and the Occult Meet In Grisly Inquiry at Mexico Border". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- Most Evil (2012-08-07). "The main page in Discovery Channel website, the official source to Most Evil series". Investigation.discovery.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
- Crime Library 2 another Court TV article on the "Death Priests"