Luis Alfredo Garavito, also known as “The Beast,” who was convicted of murdering almost 200 children in Colombia, has died at the Nueva Santo Tomás Clinic, according to a source from the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute of Colombia. The cause of death was multiple health failures due to pre-existing diseases.
Garavito had been serving a 40-year prison sentence in the maximum security prison in Valledupar, located in northern Colombia. Since his capture in 1999, he has been considered the worst serial killer in the world. He terrorized at least 11 out of Colombia’s 32 departments, murdering 186 children and raping 200, as confessed by himself in 1999. His crimes also extended to two children in Ecuador.
Luis Alfredo Garavito, born in 1957 in Génova, Quindío, which is in the coffee-growing region of Colombia, had a troubled childhood characterized by abuse. He suffered brutal beatings from his alcoholic father and was raped by two adult neighbors. Growing up, he battled alcoholism, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
In the late 1980s, Garavito began moving between residences after receiving psychiatric treatment. In the 1990s, he started committing his crimes, deceiving his victims by posing as a street vendor, monk, disabled person, or representative of false foundations for the elderly and children. This allowed him access to schools and the trust of children aged 8 to 16.
After gaining their trust, Garavito would invite the minors for walks in rural areas. When they became tired, he would tie them up with nylon, rape them, mutilate them, and finally either cut their throats or decapitate them. Former Attorney General Alfonso Gómez Méndez described the case as unprecedented in Colombia.
Throughout Colombia, the remains of Garavito’s victims were discovered in over 60 locations. The majority of his victims were children from low-income families, often neglected by their parents and living on the streets. Colombian authorities initially believed these crimes were part of a satanic ritual before realizing the connection between cases and forming a national working group.
Garavito was eventually captured in 1999 in Villavicencio when he tried to abuse a child. The authorities had been exchanging information to update records and identify any similar cases following the discovery of bodies in Pereira. Comparing photographic records, they determined that Garavito was the same person as Bonifacio Morera Lizcano, a homeless man with a history of mental illness.
The news of Garavito’s death marks the end of a dark chapter in Colombia’s history, bringing closure to the families of his victims.