Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Pedro Lopez: The Monster of the Andes

A Madman Captured

Ayacucho on map of Peru (AP)
Ayacucho on map of Peru (AP)

Upon his release from prison in 1978, Pedro traveled widely throughout Peru. It was during this time that he later claimed to have begun stalking and killing at least 100 young girls from various Indian tribes throughout the region. While it is impossible to verify these claims, it is known that he was captured by a group of Ayacuchos, in northern Peru, while attempting to kidnap a nine-year-old girl. The Indians stripped and tortured Pedro for hours before deciding to bury him alive. Nonetheless, luck was apparently on his side, because an American missionary intervened and convinced his captors that murder was ungodly and that they should turn Pedro over to the proper authorities. They reluctantly agreed and remanded their prisoner over to the Peruvian authorities. Not wanting to waste time investigating petty Indian complaints, the Peruvian Government deported Pedro back to Ecuador.

Following his return to Ecuador, Pedro began traveling extensively around the region, including frequent stops in Colombia. Authorities soon began to notice an increase in missing persons cases involving young girls, however they quickly concluded that they were due to the growing South American sex slave rings.

Ecuador flooding (AP)
Ecuador flooding (AP)

In April of 1980, a flash flood near Ambato, Ecuador, caused authorities to take a second look at their missing persons cases when the raging waters unearthed the remains of four missing children. While it was difficult for them to determine the causes of death, they concluded that the girls had obviously met foul play since someone had taken pains to hide their bodies from prying eyes.

Just days after the flash flood, a local resident, Carvina Poveda, was shopping at a local marketplace with her 12-year-old daughter Marie, when an unknown man attempted to abduct the young girl. Carvina cried out for help as the man tried to flee the market with her daughter in his arms. Local merchants quickly came to her aide, chased the man down before he could make his escape, and held him down as the authorities were summoned.

Pedro was rambling incoherently when police arrived at the scene. As they traveled back to headquarters with their suspect in tow, their initial conclusion was that they had a madman in custody.


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