The 13 Most Terrifying Serial Killers That You’ve Never Heard Of In The US
While the United States has more serial killers than any other nation, some of the most brutal murderers the world has ever seen came from the Southern Hemisphere. They’ve left hundreds of bodies of children, women and men in their wake, along the way earning grim nicknames like “monster,” “beast,” and “sadist” as the public grappled with their repulsive crimes.
Some of these killers targeted poor, indigenous women and children who lived on the margins of society, police making a horrifying situation even worse by failing to properly investigate the deaths of the victims. While citizens were outraged by the grisly crimes, many of the country’s judicial systems were not structured in a way to handle such gruesome acts, with maximum sentences that did not come close to letting the punishment fit the crime – like a child murderer who went free after just 14 years.
Mexico: The Poquianchis
The “Poquianchis” was the alias given to a group of female serial killers who were guilty of killing hundreds of prostitutes between 1945 and 1964 in Guanajuato, Mexico. The four sisters: Delfina González Valenzuela, María de Jesús, María del Carmen, and María Luisa, owned several brothels in the region, and killed over 150 people – mostly sex workers, their children, and some of their clients.
They are known as the most prolific serial killers in Mexican history.
Mexico: La Mataviejitas
Juana Barraza was a Mexican pro wrestler. What she did after she hung up her mask is terrifying. You’ve heard plenty of La Llorona and El Cucuy stories over the years, but the story of La Mataviejitas is just as scary – and it’s real.
Barazza’s victims were all women who were 60 years old or older. She would gain their trust by helping them with groceries or posing as a nurse.
Why’d she do it? Barraza says it was her way of releasing pent up anger. She says she was full of anger after her alcoholic mother beat her and would give her away to men when she was only 12.
Colombia: The Beast
Luis Garavito definitely earned his nickname “the Beast,” although few beasts would be capable of his atrocities. Garavito admitted to the murder and rape of 140 young boys, but his toll may be closer to 300 victims.
Over a brutal five-year period, from 1994 to 1999, Garavito used food, gifts and cash to lure his young victims, most between the ages of eight and 16. He would occasionally dress as a monk or street vendor to make the children feel safe as he lured them away from their homes and parents. Once he had them in a secluded spot, he would sexually assault them, often torturing them before slitting their throats and dismembering their small bodies.
Colombia: The Sadist of El Charquito
Daniel Camargo Barbosa raped, murdered and dismembered over 150 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador. He earned the name of “The Sadist of El Charquito” for the brutal treatment of his victims, hacking them to pieces with a machete. While Camargo was suspected in the deaths of 80 women and girls, he was eventually arrested in Colombia for the rape and murder of a nine-year old girl. He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in jail.
He managed to escape from the island prison where he was held, though, making his way through shark-infested water to Ecuador, where he continued his gruesome crimes, raping and killing at least 70 more victims.
Mexico: The Great Blood Sorceress
Magdalena Solís was: a serial killer, a religious fanatic, a leader of a sect, a sex criminal… and responsible for 8 confirmed murders. She killed any dissidents to her faith through sacrifices in which victims were brutally beaten and mutilated. Afterwards, she removed her victims’ hearts and drank their blood.
Some claim that Magdalena was the reincarnation of an Aztec goddess Coatlicue.
Mexico: The Monsters of Ecatepec
In 2018, Juan Carlos admitted to killing more than 20 women in the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec in a crime spree shocked the country. His wife, Patricia, has also told police her job was to trick his victims into accompanying her to their “House of Horrors” after luring them with cheap clothes to sell, say prosecutors.
Once inside the house, Juan Carlos would slit their throats, have sex with the corpses, remove the heart and feed it to his dogs.
Many of his victims were young mothers, and the couple have admitted to selling a two-month-old baby, after killing its mother. The husband and wife team were later arrested pushing the tot’s pram, but instead of finding the baby the found body parts.
Juan Carlos has also reportedly told a police doctor that he will kill again if he is ever freed.
Argentina: Angel of Death
In a stretch of just 11 months starting in March, 1971, Carlos Eduardo Robledo Puch committed a string of armed robberies, raped two women, assaulted several women and killed 11 people, becoming Argentina’s most prolific serial killer.
While he occasionally worked with an accomplice, at least one of whom died under suspicious circumstances, Robledo Puch never fit the profile of a killer. He was young, attractive, intelligent and from a wealthy family, but he turned his back on his privileged life.
Colombia: The Monster of the Andes
Known as “The Monster of the Andes,” Pedro López was convicted of raping and killing 110 women, but that horrifying body count is just the beginning of his gruesome crimes. López is suspected in the deaths of more than 300 women and girls, sometimes killing two or three a week, as he traveled across South America from Peru to Ecuador to his native Colombia. López showed his predilections earlier in life and was kicked out of his home for molesting his sister.
According to the Sword and Scale podcast, López was almost put to death by tribal leaders in Peru in 1978, but a missionary saved his life and he headed to Colombia where his crime spree continued. He was eventually captured in Ecuador when the bodies of four young girls were discovered.
He was sent to jail for the maximum allowed by Ecuadorian law at the time – just 16 years – but he was freed after 14 for good behavior. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Brazil: Gomes da Rocha
Over the course of four years, Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha killed 39 people. Gomes da Rocha worked as a security guard in Goiania, a small city in central Brazil. In his off hours he rode the streets of the city on his motorbike robbing shops, pharmacies and lottery outlets. He would pretend to mug people, shouting “robbery” at them before simply shooting them dead instead. Gomes da Rocha targeted women and sex workers – his victims included a 14-year old girl, young women, homeless people, prostitutes, and transvestites.
Peru: The Apostle of Death
God spoke to Pedro Pablo Nakada Ludeña and told him to rid the earth of prostitutes, drug addicts, homosexuals and the homeless – or that’s the justification he used to murder at least 17 people in Peru.
Known as “The Apostle of Death,” Ludeña walked the streets of Lima with a 9 mm gun equipped with a homemade silencer and killed those he felt deserved it, like a 50-year-old woman smoking pot that he passed on the street or a 42-year-old cosmetologist who may have been gay. Police eventually tracked down the “apostle” in 2006, engaging in a shoot-out with him before he was finally captured.
Bolivia: The Killer Actor
Ramiro Artieda was a sex criminal who was responsible for the murder of at least 8 18-year old women between 1937 and 1939, all of whom bared an uncanny resemblance to one another. Ramiro studied drama in the United States, where he learned the techniques that he’d use to help lure his victims. Some of the characters he created to commit his crimes included a film producer, a monk, and a professor. Using these disguises, he took women to secluded areas where he’d sexually abuse and then strangle them.
When he was captured by the authorities, the killer confessed that his intention was to kill any young women that he felt looked like an ex-girlfriend who had dumped him. He was sentenced to death on July 3, 1939.
Brazil: Pedrinho Matador
One of Brazil’s most infamous – and prolific – serial killers was responsible for at least 70 murders, slaying his first victim at at the age of 14. Pedro Rodrigues Filho, also known as “Pedrinho Matador” or Killer Petey. Even before he was born, Filho’s life was not easy – his father beat his pregnant mother so badly, Filho was born with a deformed skull.
He is believed to have killed 10 people by his 18th birthday, including the vice-mayor of his town after he fired his father. When Filho’s father murdered his mother, Filho exacted his revenge, killing the man, cutting out his heart and eating it. Filho was finally captured in 2003. He was convicted of murdering at least 70 people, but going to jail did not stop his crime spree – he murdered at least 40 inmates while he was in prison.
Argentina: The Argentine Vampire
Florencio was a sex criminal suffering from mental illness who, in the 1950s, suffered a delirium that made him believe he was a vampire. This belief lead him to kill 15 women by biting out their jugular veins, and he claimed that drinking blood gave him orgasms. He’d kill his victims by first following them home and then he’d break in through a window when they were alone.
He was caught in February 1960 at the age of 25 while living in a dark cave, since he suffered photophobia. He died a year later in a mental institution.