Pedro Lopez: The Monster of the Andes
by Emily Stringer
February 11, 2020
Pedro Lopez, known as The Monster of the Andes was nothing like the stereotypical pop culture depiction of criminals from South America, neither charming or possessing the outlandish style of Columbian drug lord, Lopez murdered and raped up to 300 young girls in Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador.
From 1978 to 1980, Lopez strangled his way through the Andes, becoming a nightmare for young girls and parents across the region.
Lopez’s life combined disfunction, poverty, and violence to breed someone known as The Monster of the Andes.
Pedro Lopez Early Life
Pedro Lopez was born on October 8, 1948 in Santa Isabel, Colombia. During this time Colombia was in the first year of a civil war that would last another decade. Lopez’s father was killed in the war when his mother, Belinda was three months pregnant with him.
Belinda, a sex worker had 13 children. Lopez was polite as a child and wanted to be a teacher. Lopez later recalled that his mother was abusive.
When he was eight years old, his mother caught him molesting his younger sister. He later said, “My mother threw me out when I was eight after she caught me touching my sister’s breasts. She took me to the edge of town but I found my way home again.”
A Killer, Abandoned
When Lopez returned home, his mother took him on a bus to Bogota, Columbia where she dropped him off over 200 miles away from home. By abandoning him, Lopez’s mother put fuel on the future serial killer fire.
His female victim profile goes back to his troubled relationship with this mother. Yet another check mark on the serial killer Bingo card! Their strained relationship made him distrustful of women. He saw his mother as the source for all the “suffering and heartaches in his life.”
Lopez claimed he did not like to talk to grown women, or have sex with them. Instead, he used pornography to meet any of his needs for sexual contact with adult women.
Pedro Joins A Gang
While in Columbia, Lopez joined a street gang of homeless children called “gamines”. During this time, Lopez started smoking basuco, made from leftover cocaine paste. Tony Montana ain’t got nothin’ on the gamines.
While living on the streets, the young Lopez was picked up by a man who took him to an empty home and repeatedly sodomized him.
When Pedro Lopez was twelve, he was taken in by an American family and enrolled him in a school for orphans. Lopez stole money and ran away from the school after a male teacher allegedly molested him. After Lopez fled the school, he found himself yet again living on the streets.
The First Arrest
When the money he took from the school ran out, Lopez supported himself by stealing cars and selling the parts to local chop shops. In 1966, Lopez ended up behind bars with a three year sentence in a Columbian prison. On his second day in prison, Lopez was gang raped by four older inmates - something that is all too common in male populated prisons as dominance and control within relations among prisoners.
Lopez did not report the crime, but enacted his own form future serial killer justice *insert Law & Order theme sound byte*. In the weeks following the attack on Lopez, he fashioned a prison shank and slit the throats of three of the assailants over the next few weeks.
Lopez received an additional two years added to his sentence for the murders. However, some sources say that Lopez did not receive the extra two years on his sentence, and that he was not suspected of the three murders. Based on his release in 1969, it is likely that he was not given the additional time.
Pedro Lopez Interview
Not unlike other serial killers, he gave an interview while incarcerated. Often, serial killers enjoy talking about themselves at length, further feeding their narcissism. The Monster of the Andes was no different.
In 1992, Lopez was interviewed by Ron Laytner a correspondent from the National Examiner. Given access to the monster’s lair, Laytner’s interview gave an insight into this killer no one had seen before; including information about his early life.
He told Laytner he was subjected to sexual acts at a young age that had a lasting impression on him. In a rare moment of self awareness, Lopez admitted why chose the victims he did. Pedro Lopez is quoted as saying: “I lost my innocence at age eight, so I decided to do the same to as many young girls as I could.”
Monster Of The Andes
Upon his release from prison, Lopez ended up in Peru where he began his career as The Monster of the Andes.
Starting a pattern of evasion from records and authorities, Lopez made his way to Peru where his series of murders began. Lopez started stalking and murdering young girls. Like many other serial killers, Lopez preyed on girls from lower socioeconomic classes. He would lure them to remote areas where he would rape, murder, and mutilate them and then dump their bodies.
By 1978, less than a decade after his initial release from prison, Lopez later estimated that he had murdered at least 100 young girls in Peru alone.
While in these remote areas of Peru, Lopez soon discovered and even easier victim to target- young girls from the native tribes in the region. The sparsely populated areas where these tribes lived were far away from the police and any form of justice, at least that’s what Lopez thought.
Caught By A Native Tribe
During an attempt to kidnap and then murder another victim, the Ayachucos, a tribe native to Northern Peru captured Lopez. The rules of tribal law dictated that anyone caught committing such a crime would receive a death sentence. Form of punishment? Being buried alive. Metal AF.
The tribe stripped Lopez nude, beat him, and buried him up to his neck. He later said of the experience, “they had placed syrup on me and were going to let me be eaten by ants”. Still metal AF.
Before tribal justice was served, a Christian missionary from the United States convinced the tribe to release Lopez and turn him over to the Peruvian police. Not metal.
Turned Over To Authorities
Lopez was turned over to the authorities. The missionary, a female, placed a tied-up Lopez in the back of her Jeep, drove to Columbia, and dropped him off. Lopez said in a later interview that he didn’t harm her because “she was too old to attract me.”
Lopez was deported to his native Colombia. Peruvian authorities did not consider the crimes he committed in their country, or his past criminal history. Once he was back in Columbia, he and spent time traveling between his homeland and Ecuador, where he continued adding victims to his count.
Lopez later noted the differences in his victims depending on the country. He said, “I like the girls in Ecuador, they are more gentle and trusting, more innocent.” Gross.
While in Ecuador, his crimes did not go unnoticed. Hundreds of missing girls were reported, and with little help from the authorities, the victim’s families set out to find their missing daughters themselves with many placing ads in local newspapers. When the authorities took notice as the number of missing girls rose in both Columbia and Ecuador, they suspected it was a part of the growing sex slave trade in the region.
Saved By A Flood
Lopez’s reign of terror in the Andes would soon end with the help of Mother Nature.
In April 1980, a flash flood in Ecuador uncovered the bodies of four missing girls. Several days later, Lopez visited a busy market and attempted to kidnap the daughter of a vendor at the market. The vendor, Carlina Ramon called for help and a mob of townspeople helped capture the monster who had terrorized their community.
Once in custody, Lopez refused to talk. It wasn’t until a policeman dressed a priest entered his cell that he confessed., Lopez took authorities to the graves of some of his victims where police uncovered 57 bodies.
A Serial Killer Is Charged
Pedro Lopez was charged with 110 murders, but claimed he was responsible for 200. He was found guilty of a measly 57 murders and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The lenient sentence was due to Ecuador’s laws at the time.
In 1994, Lopez was released from prison for good behavior after serving 14 years. He was deported to Colombia where police attempted to charge him with another murder. He was declared insane and institutionalized.
Only four years later, he was declared sane and released after a bail payment of $50. After his release he went to visit his mother and demanded his inheritance. Spoiler: there wasn’t one.
Then, he sold her bed and only chair to people on the street. Lopez then disappeared. His whereabouts are unknown. Some reports claim that he ended up in prison again, while others claim he is free. Let’s hope he’s dead, or maybe he was eaten by one of Pablo Escobar’s hippos.
What do you think of Pedro Lopez being released from prison? Let us know in the comments!
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