Latin America & Caribbean

Colombian police search for serial killer's victims

Handout picture by Colombian police showing Fredy Valencia's shack Image copyright Colombian Police
Image caption Fredy Valencia lived in a shack in the woods on Monserrate mountain

Police in the Colombian capital, Bogota, are searching for the victims of self-confessed serial killer Fredy Valencia.

They have already found 11 bodies near the shack where the 34-year-old Valencia lived.

But they think there may be more bodies buried there.

Valencia said he killed his victims, all of whom were women, for refusing to have sex with him and then disposed of their bodies in bin bags.

Gruesome discovery

The case came to light on 28 November when police on Monserrate mountain came across a plastic bag containing human bones next to a wooden shack.

Monserrate dominates the Bogota skyline and is popular with tourists and pilgrims who visit the shrine on its summit.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Monserrate is a popular tourist destination in Bogota

Forensic experts called to the scene found four more bodies that same day.

Hours later, police arrested the owner of the wooden shack in Bogota's city centre.

He identified himself as Fredy Valencia, a homeless man who had been living in the woods on Monserrate for years.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fredy Valencia (right) confessed to killing more than a dozen women

He told police that he had approached women in the Bronx, a poor neighbourhood of Bogota infamous for prostitution and drug consumption.

Valencia said that he offered them food and clothes in exchange for sexual favours.

He told officers that he had taken more than 100 women to his shack.

He confessed to killing his first victim four years ago after she allegedly tried to steal his coat.

Vulnerable victims

Valencia said he strangled many more women for refusing to have sex with him.

The exact number of victims is still unclear, but most of them are thought to have been between 18 and 30 years old.

Valencia has pointed police to other burial sports around his shack.

So far, only one of the 11 victims found has been identified.

Maria del Pilar Rincon, 26, is believed to have run away from home when she was just 13 and is thought to have been addicted to hallucinogenic drugs.

Valencia said that he chose victims who were homeless or had run away from home to make sure they were not reported missing.

The United Nations Office for Human Rights and UN Women both expressed their concern over the murders, saying that it highlighted how vulnerable the victims had been to attack due to their poverty and, in some cases, addiction to drugs.

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