Cayetano Santos Godino

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Cayetano Santos Godino
Cayetano Santos Godino in Ushuaia
Cayetano Santos Godino

(1896-10-31)October 31, 1896
Buenos Aires, Argentina
DiedNovember 15, 1944(1944-11-15) (aged 48)
Ushuaia, Argentina
Victims6 murdered, 2 assaulted, 5 attempted murder
Span of crimes
January 1912–December 1912
Date apprehended
December 4, 1912

Cayetano Santos Godino (October 31, 1896 – November 15, 1944), also known as "Petiso Orejudo" or "Leandro Ajalla" ("Macrotous Runt"), was an Argentinian serial killer who terrorized Buenos Aires at the age of 16. In the early 20th century, he was responsible for the murder of four children, the attempted murder of another seven children, and seven counts of arson.


Godino was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of eight boys. His father and mother, Fiore Godino and Lucia Ruffo, were alcoholics and abusive. Godino's father contracted syphilis before Godino was born, causing Godino to experience serious childhood health problems.[1]

Early signs of social mismanagement[edit]

Starting in childhood, Godino killed cats and birds, and enjoyed playing with fire. His violent behavior and lack of interest in education caused him to move from school to school.[1]

When he was seven years old, Godino beat two-year-old Miguel de Paoli and threw him into a ditch. A nearby official saw this and led the children to the police station, where their mothers picked them up a few hours later.[1]

A year later, Godino beat Ana Neri, a child in his neighborhood, with a stone. A police officer intervened, but Godino was released from jail due to his young age.[1]

When he was 10, Godino's parents discovered his compulsive masturbation. Not knowing what to do with him, his mother told the police, resulting in a two-month jail term for him[1] as masturbation was illegal at the time.[2]

Crime spree[edit]

On January 17, 1912, Godino set fire to a warehouse on Corrientes Street. When he was arrested, he told police, "I like to see firemen working. It's nice to see how they fall into the fire."[1] On January 26, 1912, Arturo Laurona, 13, was found dead in an abandoned house. A few months later, on March 7, 1912, Godino set fire to the dress of Reyna Vainicoff, 5, who did not recover and died some days later.[citation needed]

In late September 1912, he set fire to a railway station, though the fire was extinguished without extensive damage. On November 8, 1912, he tried to choke 8-year-old Roberto Russo. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder, but was released until the trial. On November 16, 1912, he assaulted a three-year-old, Carmen Ghittoni, who suffered minor wounds before a police officer intervened and Godino ran off.[3] On November 20, 1912, he kidnapped two-year-old Carolina Neolener, who cried out and was rescued by a neighbour. Later in the same month, he set fire to two large sheds, but the fires were quickly extinguished.[citation needed]

On December 3, 1912, Godino saw 18-month-old Jesualdo Giordano playing outside his house and offered to buy the boy some sweets to convince him to go with him. Providing a few sweets then offering more, Godino took Giordano to a country house. When they were inside, he threw him to the floor and unsuccessfully tried to choke him with his belt. Then he cut his belt and tied his hands and legs. He started beating him and considered hammering his head. He left the house looking for a nail and saw Giordano's father, to whom he said he did not know where the child was. He then re-entered the house with the nail. He hammered it into the side of Giordano's skull and hid the corpse.[citation needed] The body was found by the father minutes later. At 8:00 PM, Godino went to the wake and touched the skull where he had fixed the nail. At 5:30 a.m. on December 4, 1912, he was arrested by police, confessing his crimes.[citation needed]


On January 4, 1913, he entered a reformatory, where he tried to kill some of the inmates. Due to medical reports, which declared him insane, the judge discontinued the case and ordered him to stay in the reformatory. On November 12, 1915, an appeal was approved ordering him to be moved to jail on November 20.[citation needed]

On March 28, 1923, Godino was transferred to Ushuaia Penitentiary. Throughout 1933 he spent some time in the hospital for a beating he suffered from inmates after he killed two of their pet cats. From 1935 onwards, he was always ill and received no visitors until he died on November 15, 1944 under strange circumstances.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cabezas López, Carlos (2007-09-16). "Cayetano Santos Godino, la historia del Petiso Orejudo". Caso Abierto (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  2. ^ "Penal Code of the United States of Brazil". Article 282, Decree No. 847 of 11 October 1890 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 24 Nov 2017. Printed in Coleção de Leis dea République do Brasil: Premeiro Fasciculo 10:2664, 2710 (1890).
  3. ^