Émile Dubois (murderer)

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Emile Dubois
Emile Dubois 1867-1907.jpg
Born Louis-Amadeo Brihier Lacroix
(1867-04-29)29 April 1867
Étaples, France
Died 26 March 1907(1907-03-26) (aged 39)
Valparaíso, Chile
Cause of death Executed by firing squad
Other names Emilio Dubois
Emilio Morales
Emile Murraley
Criminal penalty Death
Conviction(s) Murder
Victims 4+
Country Chile
Undated photograph of Émile Dubois.
Émile Dubois said before his execution: "Execute me and well to the heart".[1]

Louis-Amadeo Brihier Lacroix, alias Émile Dubois (born Étaples 29 April 1867; died Valparaíso, 26 March 1907) was a French-born criminal and multiple murderer known as a folk hero in Chile.[2]

Early life[edit]

Brihier, son of Joseph Brihier and Marie Lacroix, killed the father of his girlfriend, a retired policeman, when he was fifteen. He then worked as miner for two years, until a foreman was found dead. After two months in prison for theft, he embarked for Venezuela at the age of twenty taking the name Émile Dubois. In 1903, aided by his two lovers Ursula Morales and her friend Catalina, he murdered a young Peruvian engineer in a trap laid in a brothel in Ouro, stealing the young man's savings.[3]

Murder of Ernesto Lafontaine[edit]

Dubois' first recorded murder in Chile was that of Ernesto Lafontaine in Santiago. Lafontaine's mutilated body was found by Roman Díaz, an alderman and personal friend of the victim, at the office desk that he had on Huérfanos street. Among other belongings, a gold watch, the keys to a safe and cash were missing. Eventually, this gold watch would be crucial evidence to establish Dubois' guilt in his trial in Valparaíso.[3]

The murders in Valparaíso[edit]

Then in Valparaíso followed more murders; Gustave Titius, a German businessman, Isidore Challe, another French merchant, and Reinald Tillmans, a German trader.[4][3][5]

On June 26, 1905, shortly before the 1906 Valparaíso earthquake, he attempted to murder an English dentist called Charles Davies, the attack failed and he fled and was pursued and caught by crowds.[6] It was in Valparaíso where Dubois was captured, tried and finally executed by four riflemen on March 26, 1907.

Popular legend[edit]

According to the chroniclers of the time, the victims of Dubois were usurers, so that the people termed him the Chilean Robin Hood, considering the murders as acts of justice of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Popular culture has since elevated him to the status of holy person, transforming his grave (located in the Playa Ancha in Valparaiso) into a revered one, full of innumerable gifts and dedications.[5]


The history of Émile Dubois and his enigmatic personality are treated in the novel All those deaths (1971) by Carlos Droguett, who won the Alfaguara prize that year.

It was also published in The Private Life of Émile Dubois by Chilean singer and writer Patricio Manns, who worked to reinterpet, revise and deepen the character of Droguett's novel.[7]


There are at least biographies of Émile Dubois, both published in 1907, the year of his execution; However, the improbability of the narrated facts, the total discordance between the two and the anonymity of the authors (in the case of the first one it is an alias and in the second the authors claimed to have transcribed a manuscript that arrived anonymously to them) it is presumable that they are both are apocryphal. These biographies are the following:

  • Émile Dubois. Verídica relation of its crimes and adventures of Innocent of the Field, Printing and Lithography Universe, 1907
  • The real story of Dubois: the memoirs of the famous criminal: his life in France, England, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Chile: his companions Ursula and Elcira by E. Tagle M. and C. Morales F.


  1. ^ Events, No. 226-242 (Jan 3 - April 25, 1907). Available at Memoria Chilena, National Library of Chile http://www.memoriachilena.cl/602/w3-article-124241.html. Accessed on 06-30-2015.
  2. ^ Chili, île de Pâques, Patagonie Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette
  3. ^ a b c "Municipal Elections: Stories and Comics" (in Spanish). Santiago de Chile: El Mercurio. p. 18. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  4. ^ Ercilla - Issues 1968-1979 - Page 50 1973 "Ese mismo año, tres crímenes en Valparaíso: Reinaldo Tillmans, alemán, 65, comerciante importador; Gustavo Titius, alemán, soltero, 55; Isidoro Chale, también de ascendencia extranjera y de edad avanzada. Aunque las pistas eran"
  5. ^ a b "Émile Dubois, the French immigrant who became a myth". www.lanacion.cl (in Spanish). La Nacíon. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  6. ^ A memorial to Valparaíso - Page 150 Alfonso Calderón "On June 26, 1905 it witnessed a horrible attack: from the room that today is designated as 1158 the murderer Dubois emerged, bleeding, after he had attempted to kill and rob Mr. Davies, the dentist. He fled by Melgarejo toward the wharf"
  7. ^ Estela Saint André (2005). "About crimes of justice" (in Spanish).

External links[edit]