Colombia’s Police said Sunday that a man who is accused of raping at least 274 children has been arrested in Venezuela. Weekly Semana reported the number of victims could exceed 500.
Juan Carlos Sanchez, a 37-year-old man from the Caribbean city of Barranquilla, was arrested in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo in December, months after fleeing Colombia.
Colombian authorities confirmed the arrest in an interview with weekly Semana that accused the suspect of raping more than 500 children.
General Jorge Vargas of the National Police accused Sanchez of “more than 274 abuses of boys, girls and teenagers,” making the suspect one of the most prolific serial rapists in recorded history.
According to Semana, the youngest victim of the man who called himself “the Big Bad Wolf” was no older than 14 months.
Sanchez allegedly sold videos of the sexual abuse and images of his victims to pedophile networks.
The computer engineer was arrested in 2008 for sexually abusing a 14-year-old, but was released from prison in spite of six victims testifying against him, according to Semana.
In the following years, dozens of reports of child abuse emerged in different municipalities along the coast. But the authorities treated them as isolated cases, and no one thought of connecting the dots and thinking of Sanchez as one of the possible culprits. The Big Bad Wolf’s tracks disappeared on the road to impunity and inefficiency for years.
Colombia’s police authorities were again alerted of the suspected serial rapist in 2011 after police in Mexico linked him to the distribution of child pornography.
Investigators were able to enter Sanchez’ alleged email account within months and found images of 276 minors that had fallen victim between 2008 and 2011.
A second file was even scarier. It contained videos, between 2 and 5 minutes long, in which the individual brutally raped each of these 276 minors. In many of them you can hear the cries, laments and pleas of the small and defenseless victims.
Since the arrest of Sanchez’ associate in Mexico, police in Colombia have been hunting the suspect.
Nevertheless, the alleged serial rapist fled to Venezuela early last year and settled in the city of Maracaibo.
Authorities in the neighboring country were able to apprehend Sanchez in December last year and jailed him in the capital Caracas while Colombian authorities prepare an extradition request.