The utter disregard for human life that serial killers have is intriguing to some and terrifying to all. Throughout history, there have been thousands of individuals who have killed without compunction but few, if any, have murdered more people than Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos.
Officially, he murdered somewhere between 138 and 192 young boys, but it is possible that he killed 300-400. Despite the horrific nature of his crimes, the Colombian justice system’s maximum penalty of 30 years led to the possibility that Garavito could be released. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and ‘The Beast’ is unlikely to see the light of day again.
Early Life & Beginning of his Murder Spree
Luis Garavito was born in Genova, Quindío, Colombia on January 25, 1957. He was the oldest of seven brothers, and all of them had a terrible childhood due to the sickening actions of their alcoholic father. Garavito was subjected to physical and sexual abuse from a young age; at least this is what he claimed in interviews after he had been caught.
At the age of 16, Garavito ran away from home to try and start a new life away from his abusive father. To find work, he had to travel all over Colombia. He began by working as a store clerk before he took to the streets to become a vendor who sold prayer cards and religious icons. Despite his constant traveling, Garavito had a girlfriend who also had a small child. By all accounts, Garavito treated the young child well, and his friends described him as a kind man but did note his volcanic temper.
In adulthood, Garavito continued his roaming lifestyle and moved from town to town in the search for work. He picked up his father’s alcoholic tendencies and was known to drink heavily and behave belligerently in every location until he wore out his welcome and went elsewhere. According to police reports, Garavito once attempted suicide and spent five years under psychiatric care.
It seems as if Garavito began his grotesque murder spree sometime in 1992. He was extremely careful in terms of who he picked as a victim. Practically all of his victims were boys aged 6-16 who were orphaned, peasants or homeless. He knew that these children were vulnerable and no one would report them missing. In most instances, Garavito would approach the boys and lure them away with small gifts or money. While he was careful in some cases by approaching them in the countryside, there were other occasions where he blatantly came up to them in crowded streets.
Garavito would also pretend to offer work to the boys and sometimes, he disguised himself as a ‘character’ to gain the trust of his victims. For example, Garavito dressed up as a priest, elderly man, drug dealer, or a farmer. To avoid suspicion, he changed his character regularly. Once he had the trust of the boys, they would set off on long walks until the children got tired. At that stage, they were easier to deal with. Garavito used these tactics hundreds of times until he was finally arrested in 1999.