Gruesome Cannibal Facts About Jose Dorancel Vargas Gomez, The People Eater

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The Hannibal Lecter of the Andes, or People Eater, murdered and consumed at least eleven victims using their tongues and eyes for soup but didn’t eat fat people because they had too much cholesterol!

Family Believed He Was Possessed by Evil Spirits.

Jose Dorancel Vargas Gomez was born in 1957 in Venezuela. Hs family were poor farmers and part of the Venezuelan Liberation Force.

From an early age, he was different from other boys and suffered from mental illness which wasn’t diagnosed until long after his arrest.

Because of it, his family believed he had been possessed by evil spirits. At the age of fifteen, Jose ran away from his rural jungle home and went to the city of San Cristóbal.

Lived Under the Libertador Bridge.

San Cristóbal is close to the border of Colombia and home to 650,000 people, a city where Jose was able to disappear into.

He became homeless and lived underneath the Autopista Libertador expressway bridge in a shack he made from cardboard and wood.

He shared the dark place under the bridge with other homeless people, drug dealers, and criminals on the run, making it his home for years on end.

Hunted His Victims with a Spear.

The People Eater crafted a homemade spear made from a metal pipe with plastic attachments. With his first few victims, he followed them into the shrubland close to the bridge and speared them.

Other times, he used a heavy rock or baseball bat. Some of his victims were drunk people who had passed out in nearby parks, making for an easy kill.

Gruesome Cannibal Facts About Jose Dorancel Vargas Gomez, The People Eater
Jose Dorancel Vargas Gomez at the time of his arrest in 1999.

Arrested in 1995 but Escaped a Psychiatric Unit.

In 1995, a local man was reported missing by his family but only days later was found dismembered on the edges of the city.

Police followed the clues to the shacks beneath the Libertador bridge and Jose was arrested. Parts of the body were missing – or had been consumed.

He was placed into a maximum-security psychiatric hospital, but an administrative error saw him moved to a low-security center where he escaped. Due to the lack of charge, he was not pursued.

RELATED: 6 Frightening Real-Life Cannibals to Put You Off Your Dinner

The People Eater Was a Picky Cannibal.

One could argue that all killers are selective when it comes to victim type, but Jose was more specific in that he only killed and ate athletic males. From 1997 to 1999, he killed at least eight more people.

He didn’t kill fat people [his own words] because they had high cholesterol, nor did he kill elderly people as their flesh was tough and contaminated. He didn’t kill women or children as he viewed them as pure.

Buried Victim’s Remains in His Own Personal Cemetery.

The People Eater buried most of his victims in the shrubland close to the bridge, and he had a very particular spot that he went back to repeatedly.

On 12th February 1999, a construction team discovered the remains of two young men. The police were called in and quickly excavated the site to discover another six bodies.

All had been dismembered and butchered. At first, police thought it was a dumping ground for drug gangs or Satanic groups, but it turned out to be Jose’s own personal cemetery.

Caught Attacking His Final Victim.

Within 24 hours, news of the bodies had spread around San Cristóbal. The word was out that a serial killer cannibal was on the loose and police were once again led to Jose as a suspect. But he was nowhere to be seen.

Outside a motel close to the bridge, a couple were about to get into their car for a drive when Jose ran out of the shadows with his baseball bat held high.

A passing motorcycle cop witnessed it and wrestled Jose to the ground before he could attack. After his arrest, police went to the shack under the bridge where they found bags of human remains, three human heads, and a stash of feet and hands.

He Admitted Eating Human Flesh.

Jose confessed immediately and was interviewed by local press in which he said the following.

‘Sure, I eat people. Anyone can eat human flesh, but you have to wash and garnish it well to avoid diseases. I only eat the parts with muscles, particularly thighs and calves which are my favourite.’

Human meat is nice, but I eat all kinds of meat, dog, cats, lizards. I buried the heads and feet and throw the other bones into the river. I also stored some meat in containers. The heart and the liver must be spiced up, If I was hungry, I used to kill men, never women because they do no harm.’

He maintained that he had to keep killing as he didn’t have a fridge to store the remains. Some bags of human flesh found by police were said to be beef-jerky like in texture.

Gruesome Cannibal Facts About Jose Dorancel Vargas Gomez, The People Eater
The People Eater in prison, circa 2017.

Killed and Ate Three More Victims While in Prison.

Jose never went to trial as he was deemed to be insane. He was instead admitted to the Táchira Detention Center where he has remained ever since.

In 2016, a riot broke out due to a lack of food in the prison. During the violence, he and other inmates murdered three other convicts. Jose hung them upside down to drain the blood then dismembered their bodies.

He cooked their flesh and gave it to other inmates to eat. When riot police gained control of the prison, they found Jose sitting beneath the hanging bodies, cooking and eating their flesh.

The People Eater then became the most feared prisoner at Táchira, where he remains incarcerated as of 2023.

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