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Adolfo Constanzo was a serial killer in the 1980s, whose religious cult performed ritual murders. He evaded police until his 1989 assisted suicide.
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Born on November 1, 1962, Adolfo Constanzo was a serial killer in the 1980s, whose religious cult performed ritual murders. In 1983, Constanzo traveled to Mexico City, where recruited his first disciples. After multiple killings, he managed to evade police by hiding out at his Mexico City ranch until a 1989 raid, during which he asked his fellow cult member to shoot him dead.
Serial Killer. Born Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo in Miami, Florida, on November 1, 1962, to 15-year-old Cuban immigrant Delia Aurora Gonzalez del Valle. Constanzo was the oldest of three children, all of whom had different fathers.
At six months old, Gonzalez had her son blessed by a Haitian priest who observed "palo mayombe," an offshoot of mainstream West African religions. The practice, which involves drinking a liquid in which human bones have been boiled, is often used for casting spells of wealth or power. Gonzalez and her first husband believed their son was "a chosen one" who was "destined for great power."
Constanzo was still an infant when his father died, and he and his widowed mother moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Gonzalez soon remarried and had Constanzo baptized in the Catholic Church to please her second husband. Adolfo even served briefly as an altar boy.
Gonzalez and Constanzo kept their true faith a secret, often traveling to San Juan and Haiti for Constanzo's religious education. In 1972, the family returned to Miami, Florida. His stepfather died soon after, leaving Gonzalez with some money. His mother married yet again, this time to a man involved with the local drug trade and the occult.
Free to worship as he wished, Adolfo started an apprenticeship with a Haitian priest, who taught him the skills he needed to "profit from evil." Constanzo, now in his teens, cruised gay bars committing petty crimes and robbing graves to stock his priest's cauldron. By 1976, Constanzo believed he was developing psychic powers, supposedly predicting the 1981 shooting of President Ronald Reagan.
In early 1983, Constanzo pledged himself to Kadiempembe, his religion's version of Satan. That same year, Constanzo traveled to Mexico City, where recruited his first disciples: Martin Quintana Rodriguez and Omar Orea Ochoa. Constanzo seduced both Quintana and Orea, and a year later he moved in with them.
Adolfo started offering his fortune telling and ritual cleansing services to the community, and word of his "abilities" began to spread. He claimed to harness magical powers that would make gangsters and their bodyguards invisible to police, and bulletproof against their enemies. He also helped drug dealers schedule their shipments based on his premonitions. At the height of his career, Constanzo had more than 30 devoted clients, including illegal narcotics dealers, organized crime bosses, and high-ranking law enforcement officials.
By 1986 Constanzo had amassed considerable wealth; he was able to buy a fleet of luxury cars and a $60,000 condominium in Mexico City.
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Combine a charismatic personality with fringe beliefs and an appetite for violence, and you get some of history's most notorious cult leaders. Charles Manson terrorized frightened Americans in the late 1960s, convincing his followers to commit heinous murders in his name. David Koresh led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, leading to a standoff with the federal government in 1993 that resulted in the death of Koresh and 75 of his believers. Learn about these leaders, and many more, who inspired hundreds to follow their unconventional philosophies—often with tragic results.
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