Born Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos, 25 January 1957 (age 60), Genova, Quindio, Colombia.
Other names The Beast, Tribilin
Criminal Penalty 22 years in prison
Victims 147 confirmed, 300+ suspected.
Date Apprehended April 22, 1999
Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos (born January 25, 1957), also known as La Bestia (“The Beast”) or Tribilín (named after Disney character “Goofy“‘s Latin American Spanish name) is a Colombian rapist and serial killer. In 1999, he admitted to the rape, torture and murder of 147 young boys. His victims, based on the locations of skeletons listed on maps that Garavito drew in prison, could eventually exceed 300; Garavito continues to confess to more murders. He has been described by local media as “the world’s worst serial killer”.
Garavito was born on January 25, 1957 in Génova, Quindío, Colombia. He is the eldest of seven brothers. Garavito lived in a profane home where he was physically and emotionally assaulted by his father. In his testimony, he described being a victim of sexual abuse. His father was an alcoholic. Garavito fled his home at age sixteen, in an attempt to start a life separate from his family. Garavito started working as soon as he left home. He traveled a substantial amount in order to keep up with the job demands in Colombia. Although he frequently moved, Garavito had a girlfriend. His girlfriend even had a small child that she recalls him getting along with wonderfully. Garavito was known by his friends to be kind yet easily tempered.
Victim type and killing patterns
Garavito’s victims were clearly identified by their age, gender and social status. Garavito targeted boys who were either homeless, peasants, or orphaned. He profiled boys between the ages of 6 through 16. Garavito approached the young boys either on the crowded streets or alone on the countryside. Garavito lured the children away by bribing them with small gifts like money, cash, candy or odd jobs. He offered easy work for money and even disguised himself as different characters including: a priest, farmer, homeless man, street vendor, drug dealer, elderly man, and a gambler. Garavito changed his disguise often to reduce suspicion. Once Garavito had the child’s trust he would walk the boy until they were tired, vulnerable, and easy to handle. By this time their hands were the first to be tied up. Garavito tortured, raped, and then decapitated his victims. In one case after another the child’s genitals were severed and placed into the victim’s mouth. The bodies of the children all had bite marks and signs of anal penetration; bottles of lubricant were found along with empty liquor bottles. Most corpses showed signs of prolonged torture.
Beginning in 1992, boys between the ages of 6 through 16 began disappearing rapidly from the streets of Colombia. Due to the decades long civil war, many children in Colombia were poor, homeless, or orphaned. For years these murders were going unnoticed because many of the victims had no police report filed on their disappearance. Clusters of bodies had begun popping up all over Colombia, yet the criminal justice department did not take much notice until 1997, when mass graves were being uncovered. This quantity of missing children called for a widespread investigation, as these killings were not confined to a specific area. In February of 1998, two naked corpses were found lying next to each other on a hill, outside the town of Genoa, Colombia. The next day, only meters away, another child’s body was found. All three bodies were tied at the hands. The victims necks were severely cut. The murder weapon was detected in the same area that the corpses were found. A note that was also left at the the crime scene had an address written on it; this information led them to Garavito’s girlfriend. She told police that she had not seen Garavito in months; however, she did give police a bag of Garavito’s items he had left in her possession. This bag included pictures of young boys, detailed journals of his murders, tally marks of his victims, and bills. The new evidence led them to Garavito’s residency; but the property was vacant. Detectives believed Garavito was traveling for work or approaching his next victim. Garavito was picked up by local police a few days later with charges of attempted rape. A homeless man was close enough to observe the struggle between Garavito and the child, and felt it necessary to rescue the adolescent. The most wanted killer in Colombia was unknowingly in the custody of authorities.
Arrest, confession, sentencing
Garavito was arrested on April 22, 1999 on separate charges of attempted rape. Garavito was questioned about the local killings and his attempted rape charges. Police speculated that Garavito had planned on killing the young boy if the bystander had not intersected. After a short interrogation, detectives suspected Garavito of being the “Beast”, although Garavito had insisted on his innocence. After eighteen long hours of interagation, Garavito confessed. Begging the detective to stop, Garavito cried out “POR FAVOR”; the detailed description of his killings brought Garavito to tears. For Colombia’s Justice Department, Garavito’s confession was not enough. Garavito had an eye condition which was rare and only found in men in a particular age group. His glasses were specifically designed for his unique condition. These particular glasses were found at the sight of a mass grave. Garavito also left behind empty liquor bottles, his underwear, and occasionally his shoes. DNA was found inside the victim’s anal cavity along with the other items left behind. Police scheduled the entire jail, where Garavito was being detained to get an eye exam. The outcome of his eye exam would help police pair the glasses to Garavito. By making it mandatory for all the prisoners, it reduced Garavito’s suspicion; it kept Garavito from lying about his eyesight. While Garavito was out of his cell, detectives took DNA samples from his pillow and living area. The DNA found at the crime scene was a match to the DNA found in Garavito’s cell. Garavito confessed to murdering 140 children, and was charged with killing 172 altogether throughout Colombia. He was found guilty on 138 of the 172 accounts; the others are ongoing. Although the maximum sentence for murder in Colombia multiplied by 138 comes to 1,853 years and 9 days, Colombian law limits imprisonment to 40 years, but because Garavito helped police find the victims bodies, his sentence was further reduced to 22 years.
Luis Alfredo Garavito is currently spending his time in a Colombian prison, the exact location is undisclosed to the public. Worried for his well-being, Garavito organized an arrangement with police. Police cooperation followed by good behavior has insured Garavito’s safety within the prison walls. Garavito is held separate from other prisoners because it is feared that he would be killed immediately. He is paranoid of being poisoned, therefore he only takes drinks given to him by individuals whom he trusts. His guards are on very good terms with Garavito because he is relaxed, positive and respectful towards them. Garavito is considered to be a well-behaved inmate with a positive attitude. He will be released in the year 2021.
Many Colombians criticized the possibility of Garavito’s early release. In recent years, Colombians have increasingly felt that Garavito’s sentence was not sufficient punishment for his crimes. Some have argued he deserves either life in prison or the death penalty, neither of which exist in Colombia. Colombian law had no provision or method to impose a sentence longer than what Garavito received, which was seen as a deficiency in the law caused by the failure to address the possibility of a serial killer in Colombian society. The law has since increased the maximum penalty for such crimes to 60 years in prison.
TV host and journalist Guillermo Prieto La Rotta, popularly known as Pirry, interviewed Garavito for a show which aired on 11 June 2006. Pirry mentioned that, during the interview, Garavito tried to minimize his actions and expressed intent to start a political career in order to help abused children. Pirry also described Garavito’s conditions in prison and commented that due to good behavior, he could probably apply for early release within three years.
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