Pedro López (serial killer)
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October 8, 1948 |
Santa Isabel, Tolima, Colombia
|Other names||The Monster of the Andes|
|Criminal penalty||16 years (Ecuador); freed after 14 years; committed to hospital (Colombia); freed after 3 years|
|Conviction(s)||Motor vehicle theft,
Span of killings
|9 March 1980|
Pedro Alonso López (born October 8, 1948) is a Colombian serial killer, accused of raping and killing more than 300 girls across his native country, then Peru and Ecuador, and possibly other countries. Aside from uncited local accounts, López’s crimes first received international attention from an interview conducted by Ron Laytner, a long time freelance photojournalist who reported interviewing López in his Ambato prison cell in 1980.
Laytner’s interviews were widely published, first in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, July 13, 1980, then in the Toronto Sun and The Sacramento Bee on July 21, 1980, and later in many other North American papers and foreign publications over the years. Apart from Laytner’s account and two brief Associated Press wire reports the story was published in The World's Most Infamous Murders by Boar and Blundell.
According to Laytner’s story, López became known as the "Monster of the Andes" in 1980 when he led police to the graves of 59 of his victims in Ecuador, all girls between nine and twelve years old. In 1983 he was found guilty of murdering 110 young girls in Ecuador alone and confessed to a further 240 murders of missing girls in neighbouring Peru and Colombia. López was released in 1998 from a psychiatric hospital on good behavior after initially being found insane. Although there have been no reported sightings or an increase of missing girls in these countries, he is considered still at large.
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López's father, Midardo Reyes, was a member of the Colombian Conservative Party during La Violencia, Colombia's civil war. After an argument with his wife on December 28, 1947, Reyes cheated with a prostitute named Benilda López De Casteneda. She would later become Pedro's mother. On April 4, 1948, when Benilda was three months pregnant with López, Reyes was killed from a gunshot wound while defending a grocery store from a rebellious mob. Six months later, Pedro was born in Santa Isabel as the seventh of thirteen children. According to López, his mother, who was a prostitute, caught him fondling his younger sister in 1957, when he was eight years old, and evicted him from the family home. Following this, Pedro Lopez ran off to Bogotá, Colombia's capital city. He was then picked up by a man, taken to a deserted house and repeatedly sodomized. At age twelve, he was taken in by an American family and enrolled in a school for orphans. He ran away because he was allegedly molested by a male teacher. At 18, he stole cars for a living and sold the cars to local chop shops. These actions led him to get caught by authorities later on in his life. During his incarceration he claims that he was brutally gang-raped in prison and that he hunted down his rapists and killed them all while still incarcerated.
López said that after his jail term, he started preying on young girls in Peru. He claimed that, by 1978, he had killed over 100 of them and that he had been caught by a native tribe, who were preparing to execute him, when an American missionary intervened and persuaded them to hand him over to the state police. The police soon released him. He said he moved to Colombia and later Ecuador, killing about three girls a week. López said: "I like the girls in Ecuador, they are more gentle and trusting, more innocent."
López was arrested when an attempted abduction failed and he was trapped by market traders. He confessed to over three hundred murders. The police only believed him when a flash flood uncovered a mass grave containing many of his victims. According to the BBC: "He was arrested in 1980 but was freed by the government in Ecuador at the end of . An hour later he was re-arrested and deported to police custody in Colombia. In an interview from his prison cell, López described himself as "the man of the century" and said he was being released for "good behaviour".
An A&E Biography documentary reports that he was released by Ecuadorian prison on August 31, 1994, rearrested an hour later as an illegal immigrant, and handed over to Colombian authorities who charged him with a 20-year-old murder. He was found to be insane and held in a psychiatric wing of a Bogotá hospital. In 1998, he was declared sane and released on $50 bail. The same documentary says that Interpol released an advisory for his rearrest by Colombian authorities over a fresh murder in 2002.
A.P. wire reports
Two A.P. wire reports from July 1980 and January 1981 are extant. The first is a late report of López's arrest in March, and his confession to killing 103 girls, including 53 whose bodies had been found. The second reports that he was convicted of three murders, and had confessed to three hundred sexual assaults and stranglings.
- Harle, James. "Birth Year". Thenationalstudent.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Who is Pedro Lopez?". Classic-web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- The World's Most Infamous Murders by Roger Boar and Nigel Blundell – Octopus London 1983 ISBN 0-600-57008-8 pages 116–118
- "Worst Serial Killer Released". Edit International. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Most prolific serial killer