In social networks, the man who sexually abused 500 children identified himself as “the Big Bad Wolf”.
The character in the children’s story reflected the twisted profile of who may be one of the worst criminals in Colombian history, and quite possibly in the world.
His name is Juan Carlos Sánchez Latorre.
He was born on September 13, 1980 in Barranquilla, and his name will be remembered as synonymous with the lowest of a human being.
Sánchez raped more than 500 minors. One of his last victims was only 14 months old and the others were between 8 and 14 years old. Such an abomination not only makes him one of the greatest serial rapists in the world. Because of the macabre way in which he committed the crimes, experts also consider him one of the most known pedophiles and psychopaths in recent history.
The attack of the Wolf
Sanchez looked lead a life like anyone’s. Systems technologist, he worked in a computer company in his hometown. But on March 14, 2008 the authorities arrested him and imprisoned him, accused of abusive carnal access and sexual intercourse with a minor under 14 years of age.
Behind its apparent normality, a monster was hiding.
The authorities already had him in their sights Since 2005, more than 50 rapes were reported to minors in the Atlantic capital and surrounding municipalities, and 6 of those victims declared and identified Sánchez as their aggressor.
Inexplicably, in November of that same year, a judge released him despite the severity of the statements and evidence. And that impunity unleashed the appetite of the Wolf.
In the following years, dozens of reports of abused children appeared in different municipalities of the coast.
But the authorities treated them as isolated cases and nobody had thought to tie things up and think of Sánchez as one of the possible culprits.
The tracks of the Wolf disappeared in the path of impunity and inefficiency for years. But only in July 2011 his trail reappeared, in unexpected places.
In a raid by Mexican authorities against networks of pedophiles operating in the capital of their country arrested in an Internet cafe Hector Faria, known as Anthony. When they reviewed the material in their possession, they discovered hundreds of emails, chats, videos and photographs from Colombia.
The brutality of the images left the detectives shocked.
The Interpol headquarters in Mexico communicated with its colleagues from Interpol Colombia, a unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dijin). They were given the data they had found on the computers and mail accounts of the arrested man.
With that information, the analysts of the cybernetic center began an arduous search.
They wanted to identify the person responsible in the country for an email account identified as email@example.com, through which they communicated and sent material to the Mexican pedophile. But the information was encrypted, and several months passed before they could access its content.
When the computer analysts managed to do it, they were deeply shocked.
One of the folders contained a document from number 1 to 276. Without a name, each number was accompanied by an attachment, each with a photo of a naked child. A second file was even more terrifying. It contained videos, between 2 and 5 minutes long, in which the individual sexually abused each of these 276 children. In many the cries, the laments and the pleas of the small and defenceless victims are heard.
This part of the material only covers the findings of the period between the end of 2008 and the middle of 2011.
No less sickening is the content of the chats with Anthony, who called him “esteemed Lobo Feroz”.
These conversations simply produce nausea.
After sharing the videos, they had long sessions commenting on how they had subjected each of the minors. The Colombian told him that he was going to force them and threatening them with knives and assassinating their relatives if they told what happened. The Mexican responded that he, to guarantee that the children did not speak, gave his victims “beatings almost to death to make them afraid” and recommended him to do the same.
The content of the communications between the two psychopathic pedophiles also reveals something even more rugged: the Mexican paid for each of these violations and it operated in an even more complex criminal network to which he resold the images. For each video of abused children that Sanchez sent to his henchmen in Mexico, they paid between $100 and $400.
Sánchez looked for his victims in shopping malls or in neighbourhoods where there were video games frequented by minors. There he took pictures with his cell phone of several children. He also captured images of young people in marginal neighbourhoods and near the place where he lived.
As if it were a catalogue, I sent them to Anthony in Mexico. This indicated which child to select and the value that it would pay. Once elected, the Wolf went out to look for them. Taking advantage of kids love of video games, he easily engaged in conversation and soon gained the confidence of the child who had been targeted.
“I persuaded them to go with me to play video games at home. Once there he initially offered between 2,000 and 5,000 pesos to the minors for being photographed naked. When they refused, he threatened them and later, using force, he subjected them to sexual acts, “one of the investigators of the case, de la Dijín, explained to SEMANA.
The hunting of the Wolf
The name of Lobo Feroz was key for the computer researchers of the Dijin. For several months they made inquiries on the web to fully identify Juan Carlos Sánchez Latorre. But even though they already had it located in the virtual world, it was still necessary to find it in the real world.
The analysts of the cybernetic centre located several addresses of Internet cafes in Barranquilla and neighbouring municipalities from where Sánchez sent the photos and videos to Anthony in Mexico. Although the data was vague, from social networks, they had managed to get an old photo of the man.
With that info, Interpol researchers travelled initially to the Atlantic capital. “Unlike other pedophiles, Sanchez always acted alone. He himself took the photos, recorded the videos and edited them. This made the issue difficult because it did not have accomplices in the country that would allow us to look for clues from several sides, “one of the researchers told SEMANA.
Detectives began touring video-game venues and neighbourhoods where Sánchez located his victims.
The weeks turned into months and everything seemed unsuccessful.
No one gave any indication for his whereabouts. However, last year, when one of the researchers was showing street photography of the psychopathic pedophile, the patience paid off.
“We approached a young man, about 18 years of age, on the way out of one of those video game sites. When seeing the photo he completely came unglued. He asked us why we were looking for him and we told him. Then he told us that he had been one of the first victims in 2005, when he was 12 years old. ‘I will never forget what he did to me. If you can, kill him, “he told us,”.
That young man gave the investigators the data of five other victims.
They contacted them, and after telling the dramas and the suffering they suffered, one of them led the uniformed investigators to the place where Sánchez lived and where he committed all those sexual abuses. The psychopath was no longer there, but his family was there.
For weeks they watched the home, but he did not arrive. However, they managed to establish that the suspect communicated with their relatives by telephone. When the authority traced the calls, he was located in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where he had escaped at the beginning of 2017.
The Interpol Colombia investigation team contacted their Venezuelan colleagues and informed them of the case. They sent them Sanchez’s photo and the possible location.
Many weeks passed before receiving an answer.
On December 1st, the authorities of the neighbouring country told the Colombians that they had captured him when he was around a playground in that city. They took him to a prison in Caracas where he expects to be sent to Colombia to answer for his crimes.
“We use all the resources of the Dijin and the international cooperation of Interpol to find this criminal. This case took many years of work, but we never lost faith. It was an extremely serious and aberrant case, particularly because of the immense number of underage victims, “the chief of the Dijin, General Jorge Vargas, told SEMANA.
Authorities found 1,450 files between 2008 and 2011, in which 276 abused children were perfectly documented and recorded on video. However, in the last 6 years, from searching to capture, the number of victims of this man doubles, to exceed 500 cases. This is without having even the data of what he has done in Venezuela.
The striking case of Juan Carlos Sánchez makes it inevitable to remember that of Luis Alfredo Garavito. Known as the Beast, he raped and murdered more than 170 minors in the eighties and nineties.
Sentenced to 40 years in prison, the victims and investigators in the case expect justice to impose a similar or superior penalty to the Big Bad Wolf.