Pedro López (serial killer)
Pedro Alonso López (born 8 October 1948 in Santa Isabel, Colombia) is a Colombian-born confessed serial killer, accused of raping and killing more than 300 girls across South America. Aside from uncited local accounts, López’s crimes first received international attention from an interview conducted by Ron Laytner, a long time freelance photojournalist who reported interviewing López in his Ambato prison cell in 1980.
Laytner’s interviews were widely published, first in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, 13 July 1980, then in the Toronto Sun and The Sacramento Bee on 21 July 1980, and later in many other North American papers and foreign publications over the years. Apart from Laytner’s account and two brief Associated Press wire reports the story was published in The World’s Most Infamous Murders by Boar and Blundell.
According to Laytner’s story, López 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 twelve years old. In 1983 he was found guilty of murdering 110 young girls in Ecuador alone and confessed to a further 240 murders of missing girls in neighbouring Peru and Colombia.
BackgroundAccording to López, his mother, a prostitute with thirteen children, caught him fondling his younger sister in 1957, when he was eight years old, and evicted him from the family home. He was then picked up by a man, taken to a deserted house and repeatedly sodomized. At age twelve he was taken in by an American family and enrolled in a school for orphans. He ran away because he was allegedly molested by a male teacher. At 18, he says, he was gang-raped in prison and, he claimed, killed three of the rapists while still incarcerated.
After his jail term he started preying on young girls in Peru. He later claimed that, by 1978, he had killed over 100 of them. He had been caught by a native tribe, who were preparing to execute him, when an American missionary intervened and persuaded them to hand him over to the state police. The police soon released him. He relocated to Colombia and later Ecuador, killing about three girls a week. López later said “I like the girls in Ecuador, they are more gentle and trusting, more innocent.”The authorities had previously believed the disappearance of so many girls was due to sexual slavery or prostitution.
López was arrested when an attempted abduction went wrong and he was trapped by market traders. He confessed to over 300 murders. The police only believed him when a flash flood uncovered a mass grave of many of his victims.
According to the BBC: “He was arrested in 1980 but was freed by the government in Ecuador at the end of last year  and deported to Colombia. In an interview from his prison cell, López described himself as ‘the man of the century’ and said he was being released for ‘good behaviour’.”
An A&E Biography documentary reports that he was released by Ecuadorian prison on 31 August 1994, and re-arrested an hour later as an illegal immigrant, and handed over to Colombian authorities who charged him with a twenty year old murder. He was found to be insane and held in a psychiatric wing of a Bogotá hospital. In 1998 he was declared sane, and released on $50 bail. The same documentary says that Interpol released an advisory for his re-arrest by Colombian authorities over a fresh murder in 2002.
AP wire reportsTwo AP wire reports from July 1980 and January 1981 are extant. The first is a late report of López’ arrest in March, and his confession to killing 103 girls, including 53 whose bodies had been found. The second reports that he was convicted of three murders, and had confessed to 300 sexual assaults and stranglings.