Name: Daniel Camargo
Moniker(s): The Mangrove Monster, The Sadist of El Charquito, Manuel Bulgarin Solis
Date of Birth: January 22, 1930
Date of Death: November 13, 1994
Victim Count: 72 – 180
Years Active: 1962 – 1986
Region Active: Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador
With over seventy confirmed victims, Daniel Camargo was one of the most prolific serial killers the world has ever known. He raped and murdered countless females, and evaded capture for over twenty years.
Camargo’s hatred of femininity began in his early childhood. After his mother, Teresa Barbosa, died when he was only a toddler, Camargo’s father remarried a domineering woman named Dioselina Fernandez.
After discovering she was unable to have children of her own, Dioselina began to take her anger out on young Camargo, abusing him while doting on his older half-sister. His stepmother beat him, forced him to wear dresses, and invited his classmates to come and laugh at him. His father ignored this abuse and emotionally rejected him, causing Camargo to withdraw from his family further.
Camargo found refuge in his studies and had an IQ of 116, though he was forced to drop out of school and support his family during Colombia’s brutal civil war in the 1940s. He became a traveling salesman and noted how easily he could convince people to let him into their homes. In 1957, he began a relationship with one of his clients, Alcira Castillo, and they started a family.
Their happiness was short-lived, and Camargo soon found himself unable to cover all his family’s expenses. He tried to rob a store but was caught and was sent to a minimum-security prison in 1958. He easily escaped prison and returned to his family, where he lived a quiet life until 1962 when he began a relationship with another woman named Esperanza.
When he found out that Esperanza was not a virgin, he told her that for their relationship to survive, she would have to provide him with virgin girls. Shockingly, Esperanza agreed. Over the next two years, she brought five girls to their apartment, drugged them with barbiturates, and let Camargo rape them.
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In 1964, one of the victims remembered what happened to her and went to the police. Both Camargo and Esperanza were arrested, with Camargo being sentenced to eight years for his crime. Unrepentant, Camargo decided that he would not risk leaving his next victims alive.
After his release, he went to Brazil but was deported back to his native Colombia for unknown crimes. He began to live a transient lifestyle until 1974. Outside a school in Barranquilla, he saw a nine-year-old girl he found particularly attractive. After some convincing, he lured her away to a secluded area, raped her, and strangled her. He was caught the next day after returning to the scene to retrieve some items he had left beside the body.
He was sent to Colombia’s Gorgona prison for thirty years. Though the island prison was notorious for its hellish conditions, Camargo, still as cunning as ever, studied ocean currents and escaped in late September of 1984¾something that had been considered impossible by guards. He was later falsely reported to be dead.
Camargo settled in Quevedo, Ecuador, and began targeting lower-class girls by disguising himself as a harmless figure such as a pastor or beggar. In a short time, he killed fifty-four girls and made a living selling the belongings he took from them. He began to mutilate and eviscerate his victims, even taking out their hearts, which he called the “organ of love.”
In 1986, he killed nine-year-old Elizabeth Telpes in Quito. This time, instead of stealing jewelry or other valuables, Camargo fled the scene with her blood-stained clothing. When two policemen saw him behaving erratically, they asked to check his bag and found not only Elizabeth’s dress but also the child’s severed clitoris.
Police took him to Guayaquil, where Camargo claimed his name was Manuel Bulgarin Solis until María Alexandra Vélez, who escaped an attack from Camargo and is believed to have been his only survivor, ultimately identified him. On May 31, 1986, he confessed to the crimes and, in 1989, was sentenced to sixteen years, Ecuador’s maximum sentence for murder at the time, in Quito’s Garcia Moreno prison.
On November 13, 1994, a 29-year-old inmate named Giovanny Arcesio Noguera Jaramillo entered Camargo’s cell, ordered him to drop to his knees, and stabbed him eight times. He had planned to take Camargo’s head, but his weapon was unable to cut through the tissue and bones of his neck. Unable to decapitate him, Noguera instead settled for Camargo’s ear, which he sliced off and took with him.
When the guards came, Noguera proudly showed off his trophy. His aunt, as it turned out, had been one of Daniel Camargo’s countless victims. In killing Camargo, Noguera had managed to avenge her.
Camargo was buried in a mass grave in Quito’s El Batán cemetery.