Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Pedro Lopez: The Monster of the Andes

Mean Streets

Pedro Alonzo Lopez was born in Tolmia, Colombia, in 1949, during the height of the country's "La Violencia" period. This was in fact the last place on earth anyone would have wanted to be born. The country was ruled by riots and unthinkable acts of violence. The problems began just one year earlier, in 1948, when a popular Liberal politician, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala, was assassinated and a civil war broke loose. The war would continue for the next 10 years and take over 200,000 lives before it was over.

Pedro Lopez
Pedro Lopez

The son of a penniless prostitute, Pedro was the seventh of 13 children, and his early years could be described as anything but joyous. His mother was an overbearing woman who dominated her children with an ironclad fist. Regardless of his home life, anything was better than being out on the mean streets. Human rights violations by the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and members of the national armed forces were commonplace, and the country's crime rate was fifty times higher than all other countries in the world.

In 1957, at the age of eight, Pedro's mother caught him having sexual relations with his younger sister and his worst nightmare became a reality — he was exiled to the streets and ordered never to return home again. As bleak as the situation appeared, things quickly began to look up when an older man picked him up off the streets, and offered him food and a place to stay. Pedro could not believe his luck and quickly accepted the offer in blind faith. Nonetheless, it was in fact too good to be true. Instead of being taken to a plush home with food and bedding, the man took Pedro to an abandoned building, where he sodomized him numerous times before tossing him out onto the cold hard streets.

Following his misfortune with the older man, Pedro became terrified of strangers. He slept in alleyways and deserted buildings, and would only meander out at night in search of food from trash cans and local dumps. It was almost a year before Pedro finally built up the courage to travel about the country and eventually ended up in the town of Bogotá. After a few days of begging for food and scavenging dumpsters, a resident American couple approached him. The elder couple was distressed by Pedro's skeletal appearance and was heartbroken watching him beg for food. They provided him with a warm meal and asked him to come live with them. With little other choices left, Pedro accepted their offer and went home with the couple. He was provided with free room and board and eventually enrolled in a day school for orphans.


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