The Beast is Captured
As it transpired, Garavito had been in police custody before, back in 1996. On June 8 of that year, a young boy went missing in Boyaca, and his body was found five days later. His mother began a search and discovered that her son was last seen in a local shop with other kids and a man who bought them candy. Garavito was identified as the stranger and brought in for questioning by the police. He confessed to the purchase of the candy but claimed he left the boys alone. This was enough for the police who released The Beast, and he subsequently murdered a boy four days later.
After speaking with Garavito’s girlfriend, they were able to use the information to find his current residence, but it was vacant. However, local police arrested a man a few days later in the region on suspicion of attempted rape of a young boy. Garavito had attacked the boy, but a homeless man saw what was happening and rescued the child. The homeless man didn’t realize it at the time, but he had helped catch one of history’s most prolific killers.
Garavito was finally arrested on April 22, 1999, but his captors were initially unaware of his deeds. However, he cracked under questioning and confessed to dozens of murders. Along with the confession, the justice department had a mountain of evidence including Garavito’s DNA on the victims and a pair of glasses specifically designed for an eye condition the killer suffered from.
Ultimately, Garavito confessed to the murders of 140 children in Colombia and was charged with 172 counts of homicide. He was found guilty of 138 counts, and while his sentence should have been over 1,853 years in prison, Colombian law had a maximum prison sentence of 40 years (according to Article 37.1 of the Colombian Penal Code). Since he also cooperated with the police and showed them the location of some of the bodies, his sentence was reduced to 22 years.
This ludicrous state of affairs meant the specter of early release loomed large as Garavito is scheduled for release in 2021. Fortunately, it seems as if he will remain in prison for life because Colombian law also states that people who commit crimes against children don’t receive ‘any benefit with justice.’ Therefore, he will probably spend between 60 and 80 years in prison.
The exact number of Garavito’s victims will never be known, but it could be as high as 400 according to some estimates. At the time of writing, at least 27 of his victims can’t be identified. He also lived in Ecuador at some point in his life and has been linked to the murders of young boys there.
Today, Luis Garavito is in a Colombian prison, but the location of the facility has been kept from the public. As he cooperated with the police, he reached an arrangement with them whereby he is kept isolated from other prisoners for his safety. He is extremely paranoid and is terrified of being poisoned, so he only accepts food and drinks from people he trusts implicitly. Hopefully, Garavito remains behind bars forever.