Pedro Lopez: Here's How Many Victims The Monster Of The Andes Had

Pedro López, the Colombian man known as "The Monster of the Andes," is believed to have raped and killed more than 300 girls in the 1970s through 1980 when he was finally caught in Ecuador after trying to lure a girl from a busy market, according to Biography. Part of what earned López his nickname wasn't just the breathtaking number of people he's killed. It was also that the serial killer preyed specifically on little girls. Australia's 9 News reported that the majority of López's victims were just 9 to 12 years old.

In 1994 López told journalist Ron Laytner in an exclusive interview, "I walked among the markets searching for a girl with a certain look on her face. A look of innocence and beauty," López said. "She would be a good girl, always working with her mother. I followed them, sometimes for two or three days, waiting for the moment when she was left alone."

López's victims were usually indigenous girls whose families had little money or resources, Biography reported. López told Laytner in the 1994 interview he made up his mind to rape little girls when he was only 8 years old after being kicked out of his home for touching his sister's breasts. Then Lopez said he was picked up by a man who repeatedly raped him. López told Laytner, "I decided then to do the same to as many young girls as possible." Once he started taking and raping the girls, he realized that he loved killing.

Pedro Lopez was caught twice trying to lure children

López told Laynter, "There is a wonderful moment, a divine moment when I have my hands around a young girl's throat. I look into her eyes and see a certain light, a spark, suddenly go out. Only those who kill will know what I mean."

Even as López seemed to live a life of murder with impunity, he was caught once in Peru after he tried to kidnap a 9-year-old girl, but it wasn't police who caught him. It was the native Ayachucos community, according to Biography. They used tribal law to decide his punishment, which was to be buried alive. Yet Biography reported a Western missionary talked them into turning him over to Peruvian police, who simply deported him to Colombia, where he made his way to Ecuador to resume raping and killing children. 

It was in that country that López was finally caught. According to 9 News, a flash flood in 1979 in the city of Ambato revealed the bodies of four young girls who were buried together, putting the town on alert that there was a predator in their midst. A few days later, López was caught trying to take a 10-year-old girl and was arrested by police. 

The Monster of the Andes said killing was his mission

Once in custody, police put an undercover officer in López's cell to try to elicit a confession. It worked. Ultimately López took authorities to a mass grave of 53 of his victims, per 9 News, and confessed to killing many more, bringing his total charges to 110 counts of murder in Ecuador alone. Biography reported The Monster of the Andes claimed to have killed more than 200 more people in Colombia and Peru. 

As if the crimes weren't unfathomable enough, López's sentence for raping and murdering more than 100 little girls in Ecuador was only 16 years, which was the maximum sentence allowed under Ecuadorian law at the time, per 9 News. López was released two years early for good behavior in 1994. He was sent back to his native Colombia, were he was put in a psychiatric hospital for four years before being deemed sane and released in 1998, per Rolling Stone and Biography.

He told Laynter in 1994, before he was released from prison and sent back to Colombia, "The moment of death is enthralling and exciting. Someday, when I am released I will feel that moment again. I will be happy to kill again. It is my mission."

López disappeared shortly after his release from the psychiatric hospital. His whereabouts are currently unknown.