Pedro Alonso Lopez is a Colombian serial killer and rapist who is better known as the "Monster of the Andes". For nearly a decade Lopez traveled around Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru, enticing girls, ages 8 to 12, walking away with them, where he would brutally rape and mutilate their small bodies before dumping them in shallow graves.
The country of Ecuador is no stranger to both earthquakes and flash floods. These sudden and devastating events crush infrastructures, displace families, and claim many lives. Flash floods also change the landscapes and even unearth past crimes.
In March 1980 a flash flood occurred in Ambato, Ecuador that brought to the surface 4 small decomposing corpses. Crudely thrown into a shallow grave, the Ecuadorian authorities saw that each body had been badly mutilated and exposed to sadistic torture prior to death.
A manhunt ensued, but quickly ended do to no information or suspect description.
Just as authorities wondered who would take part in such a brutal act of rape and violence, the killer, later identified as Pedro Alonso Lopez, was busy abducting 11-year-old Maria Poveda from the market where she and her mother worked.
Masquerading as a peddler of chains, padlocks, and jewelry, Lopez spent hours trying to convince little 11-year-old Maria to walk away with him.
And she did, but luckily the man never made it out of the market with her.
The papers reported that the mother, Carlina Ramon Poveda, "saw Maria walking out of the marketplace holding the hand of a tall stranger. She followed them to the end of the market area. Afraid to leave the security of her friends, she began shouting and accusing Lopez of stealing her daughter."
As the crowd of angry market goers descended up Pedro Lopez, he began calling the mother a liar and a "dirty Indian." It's' safe to say that Lopez was beaten severely by the crowd before the police arrived.
Detective Pastor Gonzales stayed in a cell with the serial killer posing as a prisoner. He told me: “For 27 days I hardly slept, afraid I'd be strangled in my sleep. But I tricked Lopez into confessing by pretending I was a rapist too. He boasted to me of murder after murder in Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. It was beyond my wildest nightmares. He told me everything.”
The Ecuadorian police suspected that Pedro Lopez was the monster that killed the 4 small girls whose bodies recently resurfaced, but he remained silent after his arrest.
With pressure mounting from locals, the officers in charge had to get a confession. That's when the captain Gonzales had a novel idea. Pedro Lopez had not met Gonzales before, so he could pass off as a priest, and over time, get a full confession.
Lopez told Gonzales, "I am an orphan. I need help. My mother deserted me. God has deserted me. I sleep each night in this closed room. I cannot see a star above me. I am going to die here."
'Pastor' Gonzales visited Pedro Lopez for an entire month getting not only a confession of the murder of the 4 girls, but a claim that the prisoner has killed "110 girls in Ecuador, 100 in Peru, and over 100 in Colombia."
This claim, if true, would make Pedro Lopez perhaps the deadliest and prolific serial killer in history. Newspapers across the globe began covering the events unfolding in the small Ecuador prison. Reporters clamored to get an interview. The public wanted to know why. Why has this 'Monster of the Andes' traveled, raped, and killed so many small girls?
Lopez was all too happy to share.
Author Ryan Green says in his book Colombian Killers, "His pride was sickening, and yet the police had little choice but to follow him around and encourage him to take them to the next site. They desperately needed the information that only Lopez himself could give them. So, they continued to supply him with cigarettes and alcohol."
Lopez was the 7th of 13 siblings to grow up poor in a small crumbling shanty.
Born to a prostitute in the city of Tolima, Colombia, young Pedro spent his days watching his mother being abused, raped, and beaten by clients (many of which refused to pay). At age 8, the year of 1957, Pedro mimicked his early sex education by raping his own sister.
His mother was not too happy about this and banished him from the family forever. A neighboring family took Pedro in and brought back to his mother the next afternoon.
The mother was adamant that his banishment be permanent and loaded her son on a bus, dropping him off 125 km away from his home. Lopez was cold, hungry, and penniless. He was also vulnerable and was persuaded by an older man to come back to his home, where he would clothe and feed the boy.
The man didn't take him to his house, but an abandoned building where he violently raped Lopez and left him there to die.
"I lost my innocence at age 8, so I did the same to as many young girls as I could."
From that point forward, Pedro Lopez refused to sleep indoors if possible. Instead, he "slept on the steps of market places and plazas. I looked up and knew that if I could see a star, I was under the protection of God."
When Pedro Lopez turned 18, he was arrested and given 7 years of stealing a car. He quickly found out just how rough the Colombia prison system can be when, on his 2nd day, 4 older inmates violently raped him.
That pounding didn't come with consequences though, and for 2 weeks Pedro flew under the radar, silently filing down a kitchen utensil into a handmade shank.
Without fear and with revenge on his mind, Pedro walked into a cell containing 3 of the inmates that attacked him 2 weeks earlier and, shank in hand, stabbed several vital organs of each enemy. When the fourth man entered the room and seen the massacre of his friends he took off running, "screaming through the prison." His cardio was useless as Pedro caught up to the man severing his jugular in front of nearly 100 other inmates in the chow hall.
Most wardens would have charged Pedro Lopez with 4 additional counts of murder, but his respect had risen to unreal proportions that the prison merely tacked on another 2 years to his sentence.
They released Pedro out of prison in 1978, with a new lust for blood.
Monster of the Andes
We believe Ortensia Garces Lozada to be the first young female victim of Pedro Lopez. On the border of Ambato, Colombia, near the prison, Lozada worked selling newspapers to help support her parents.
We know little about her life or death, but Lopez did claim that he lured the girl away for a meager 10 dollars. He raped and then strangled her tiny body, dumping her under a bridge.
Lopez would continue to kill over 300 little girls before he was finally arrested by the Ecuadorian police.
In 1998, Pedro Lopez was found mentally incompetent via insanity and was released from confinement. His whereabouts are still unknown today.