Who is Pedro Lopez?

If Pedro Lopez is truly the worst serial killer in history, why aren't there more than four primary news articles about him? [Click here for the context of this question.]

Police find 53 bodies

The Associated Press

July 14, 1980, Monday, AM cycle SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 140 words


Police in the mountain town of Ambato said Monday they have found 53 bodies of little girls who were raped and murdered by a man Ecuadorean newspapers have dubbed the "monster of the Andes."

The police told Quito newspapers the bodies were found in shallow graves in the Andean provinces of Tungurahua, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Pinchincha and Imbatura.

Pedro Alonso Lopez, identified as a 28-year-old Colombian, has been jailed in Ambato, capital of Tungurahua province about 75 miles south of Quito, since the first week of March.

Police said Lopez confessed to killing the 53 girls and at least 50 others in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

Lopez was arrested after he approached a girl in a public plaza in Ambato, a police spokesman said, and is being held in Ambato until a court determines the charges to be brought against him.

Copyright 1980 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Killer of 300 gets 16-year term

The Associated Press

January 27, 1981, Tuesday, AM cycle SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 137 words


A man who police say confessed to sexually assaulting and strangling 300 Indian girls in three South American countries was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison, court officials reported Tuesday.

They said Pedro Alonso Lopez, 32, of Colombia, was convicted on three counts of murder, but Ecuadorean law sets 16 years as the maximum punishment for murder and prohibits consecutive sentences.

Lopez was convicted and sentenced Monday in the southern town of Ambato by Judge Jose Roberto Cobos Moscoso.

He was arrested there nine months ago and police told the court he bragged of killing the girls in the Andes regions of Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

They said he led investigators to the graves of 59 girls between the ages of 7 and 13.

Lopez once boasted that he would write a book about his crimes.

Copyright 1981 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Murderer of 350 Children Free to Slaughter More

Scotland on Sunday

December 6, 1998, Sunday

BYLINE: Ron Laytner In Quito, Ecuador


LENGTH: 978 words

ONE of modern history's worst murderers, a serial killer of 350 children, has been released from prison and is free to kill again. Pedro Alonzo Lopez served less than one month in jail in Ecuador for each of the young girls he murdered in three countries.

In a move that is baffling to nations with more severe justice systems he has been released for 'good behaviour'.

Lopez became known as the 'Monster of the Andes' in 1980 when he led police to the graves of 53 of his victims in Ecuador, all girls between nine and 12 years old. Three years later he was found guilty of murdering 110 young girls in Ecuador and confessed to a further 240 murders of missing girls in neighbouring Peru and Colombia.

In an exclusive 1994 interview in his prison cell at Ambato, Ecuador, Lopez, then 43, said: "I will soon be a free man again. They are releasing me on good behaviour."

Lopez killed on a regular basis, murdering two or three girls every week over a three-year period. "I am the man of the century," he said. "No one will ever forget me."

He had been captured once before . "Indians in Peru had me tied up and buried in sand up to my neck. They had placed syrup on me and were going to let me be eaten by ants. But an American missionary lady came by in her jeep and promised them she would turn me over to police.

They left me tied up in the back of her jeep and she drove away. But she released me at the border of Colombia and let me go. She didn't attract me because she was too old."

As a killer he compares himself to spectators who attend bullfights as they watch in fascination waiting for the kill.

"There is a wonderful moment, a divine moment, when I have my hands around a young girl's throat. I look into her eyes and see a certain light, a spark, suddenly go out.

Her fingers flutter briefly a The moment of death is enthralling and exciting. Only those who actually kill know what I mean. Someday, when I am released, I will feel that moment again. I will be happy to kill again. It is my mission."

On his release the government of Ecuador, which has no death penalty, quietly and secretly deported the mass murderer to Colombia because he had no visa to be in Ecuador. A week later police found him back in Ecuador. They took him back to Colombia and he has not been heard of since.

Lopez killed his young girl victims by luring them away from market places with the promise of trinkets such as hand mirrors.

He took them to hideaways where he had prepared graves.

Sometimes there were bodies of earlier victims lying in the shallow pits.

Lopez lulled them with cuddles before raping them at sunrise. He explained: " When the sun rose I would strangle her. It was only good if I could see her eyes. I never killed anyone at night. It would have been wasted in the dark. I had to watch them by daylight."

He said it took the girls five to 15 minutes to die. "I was very considerate. I would spend a long time with them making sure they were dead. I would use a mirror to check if they were still breathing."

Lopez claimed he would then carry out gruesome 'parties' with his dead victims, propping them up in their graves and talking to them.

"I walked among the markets searching for a girl with a certain look on her face, a look of innocence and beauty. She would be a good girl, always working with her mother. I followed them, sometimes for two or three days, waiting for the moment when she was left alone."

Lopez often stalked the children of visiting tourists.

"I spent many days following English and Scottish families and their beautiful blonde daughters. But I never got the chance to take some. Their parents were too watchful."

Lopez's crimes came to light in 1979 when a river overflowed near the town of Ambato in Ecuador and the bodies of four girls were washed up on the banks.

Three days later Lopez was captured as he tried to snatch another girl. Luckily the 10-year-old's mother, Carlina Poveda, saw Lopez walking away hand in hand with her daughter Maria, and screamed. An angry mob of market workers pounced on the stranger, holding him down until police arrived.

To find out whether Lopez had murdered the river bank children, police placed undercover detective Pastor Gonzales in his cell. Eventually Lopez revealed the truth,

Lopez eventually taking police officers to the graves of 53 of his victims. Two months later, in 1980, he pleaded guilty to 110 charges of murder.

Police said the killer could have been charged with a total of 350 murders of missing girls but additional trials in Colombia and Peru would have been too complex and costly.

Lopez was already a convicted murderer before he started preying on girls. He slit the throats of three men who had raped him as an 18-year-old in a Colombian jail where he was serving time for car theft.

He said he knew from the age of eight that he was going to be a killer, explaining: "I was the seventh son of 13 children of a prostitute in Tolima, Colombia. My mother threw me out when I was eight after she caught me touching my sister's breasts, and I was taken in by a man who raped me over and over again. I decided then to do the same to as many young girls as possible."

Quizzed about the killer's release in the summer of 1998, prisons minister Pablo Faguero would only say: "Yes, it does sound strange, but that is our law."

For much of his 18 years in captivity Pedro Alonzo Lopez feared he would be handed over to the authorities in Colombia, where he would have faced a firing squad. But although the killer is now free, he can never feel safe from the families of his victims.

"He won't live long," predicted the tough mother of Maria Poveda, the young Ecuadorian girl who helped in his capture. "It will be a kindness to the world for someone to murder this fiend."

Copyright 1998 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.

Inside the Mind of Serial Killer Pedro Alonzo; Monster of Andes Mutilated and Killed 350 Girls.

Scottish Daily Record

February 10, 2001, Saturday SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 22, 23

LENGTH: 1278 words

BYLINE: Ron Laytner

THE prison van slipped through the gates of the jail in the dead of night and made its way towards the Colombian border.

For several hours, it sped from the capital city Quito through quiet Ecuadorian villages where children slept, unaware of the unimaginable horror that was passing briefly through their lives.

Later, as dawn was breaking, the vehicle pulled off the road and Pedro Alonzo Lopez was bundled out the back door on to the soil of Colombia, his homeland. The Monster of the Andes, the worst and most feared serial killer in the world, had been released to strike again.

Next week cinemagoers will seek entertainment in terror when Hannibal, the follow-up to Silence of the Lambs, is released in Britain.

However, the people of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru know they still have a demon lurking in their midst more wicked than any character Sir Anthony Hopkins could ever portray.

Lopez was responsible for the death and mutilation of 350 young girls over a three-year period before his arrest in Ecuador in 1979.

Astonishingly, he was released in secret in early 1999, having served the maximum 20-year prison sentence allowed in the Central American country, which has no death penalty.

The lives of each of his little victims, most between the ages of nine and 12, were judged by authorities to be worth little more than a month.

And, in his only ever interview, he pledged to murder again as soon as he was released, admitting: "I will be happy to kill again, it is my mission."

I am the only journalist to have ever spoken with Lopez and visited him at his prison in Ambato, Ecuador, shortly before his release, where he gave a gruesome insight into the tortured mind of a serial killer.

Lopez, now in his forties, spent his 20-year sentence in solitary confinement, never meeting fellow prisoners and rarely mixing with guards after relatives of the victims put a $ 25,000 bounty on his head.

I stepped into cell 29 while several guards cocked their pistols and stood watch on the other side of the bars where my nervous interpreter cowered behind the warden.

Lopez gripped my hand and started squeezing hard with the same enormous fingers that had strangled the life so easily from so many innocent victims.

He broke into a smile but his eyes remained dead, darting from me to faded and yellowing newspaper clippings on his exploits which were pinned to the cell wall like sick trophies to his reign of terror.

He was born to be a killer, he confessed, and first murdered when he slit the throats of three fellow prisoners who had raped him when he was 18 and serving time for car theft.

He revealed: "I am the seventh son of 13 children born to a prostitute in Colombia. My mother threw me out when I was eight for touching my sister's breast and I was taken in by a man who raped me over and over again.

"I decided then to do the same to as many young girls as possible."

His killing spree began in the late Seventies when he lured hundreds of young girls away from their parents at busy markets.

He even set his sights on a young girl, who might even have been Scottish, when her tourist family stumbled into his ghoulish path. He recalled: "I walked among the markets searching for a girl with a certain look on her face of innocence and beauty.

"She would be a good girl, always working with her mother. I followed them, sometimes for two or three days, waiting for the moment she was left alone.

"Once, I even spent two days following a tourist family. I was told they came from England or Scotland. I really wanted to take their beautiful blonde daughter, but I never got the chance. Her parents were too watchful."

Lopez led his victims to secret hideaways where he had previously prepared graves, often with as many as three bodies already lying in the shallow pits.

Lopez, who persuaded them to follow with the promise of gifts and trinkets, even lulled the terrified youngsters like a loving parent before raping and murdering them at sunrise. He explained: "At the first sign of light I would get excited. I forced the girl into sex and put my hands against her throat. When the sun rose I would strangle her.

"It was only good if I could see her eyes. I never killed anyone at night. It would have been wasted in the dark. I had to watch them by daylight.

"It took them between five and 15 minutes to die. Sometimes I had to kill them all over again. They never screamed because they didn't expect anything would happen. They were innocent."

Lopez would often indulge in sick, gruesome games with his victims, even propping them up in their graves for conversations and macabre 'parties'.

He added: "My little friends liked to have company. I often put three or four girls in a single hole and talked to them.

"It was like having a party, but after a while, because they couldn't move, I got bored and went looking for new girls." His horrifying wickedness came to an end in 1979 when he was caught by angry locals trying to lure a 10-year-old from a market in Ecuador.

Three days earlier, the bodies of four victims had been washed up on a local river bank after a flood. Three had been strangled with such severity their eyes had popped out of their sockets.

Incredibly, he had been captured before, but an American missionary in Peru persuaded village chiefs to let him go. He said: "Indians in Peru had me tied up and buried me in sand up to my neck when they found what I had been doing to their daughters.

"They placed syrup on me and were going to let me be eaten by ants, but an American missionary came by in her Jeep and promised she would turn me over to the police. They left me tied up in her Jeep and she drove away , but she released me at the border with Colombia." Lopez eventually pleaded guilty to 110 charges of murder in Ecuador and admitted a further 240 murders in Peru and Columbia, but cost and complexity prevented him ever standing trial in those countries, where he would undoubtedly have faced a firing squad.

The people in all three countries were outraged when, two months after the event, they were told he had been released under the cover of darkness to prevent baying mobs and vigilantes gathering at the prison gates.

Even Victor Lascano, the governor of Ambato Jail, said: "God save the children. He is unreformed and totally remorseless. This whole nightmare may start again."

Television and radio stations in the three countries are still besieged with phone calls from frantic parents who swear to have seen Lopez lurking in their communities. Every police officer in the border area between Colombia and Ecuador carries the photo of Lopez on this page, the one I took, in their wallet.

It was the screams of Carlina Ramon Poveda that finally led to the capture of Lopez after she spotted him making off with her daughter Maria, 10.

Carlina said: "It will be a kindness to the world for someone to murder this fiend. The Monster of the Andes won't last long on the outside.

"Maybe that is why we haven't heard of more missing girls. Perhaps someone, even the police in Colombia or Ecuador, have already killed him. If they have, I hope they made him suffer."

There have been no cases of missing young girls reported in Ecuador, Colombia or Peru in the last two years. No-one knows if Pedro Alonzo Lopez is dead or alive.

Perhaps the Monster of the Andes was finally murdered by someone who felt they were doing humanity a service. Perhaps he is simply biding his time before his orgy of unimaginable wickedness begins all over again.

Additional reporting by Gary Ralston.

Copyright 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail Ltd.

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