The first Argentine serial killer
If I asked you who the first Argentine serial killerwas for you, I’m sure most (like me, before doing this investigation), would answer “El petiso earejudo”. But I don’t. There was another one before. And, macabre detail of fate, his name was also Cayetano. In this case, Cayetano Domingo Grossi.
The details are insane. First of all, for his victims: he murdered his five children. Secondly, for whom these children were: the result of the systematic rapes to which he subjected his two stepdaughters. One day, a neighbor finds a bag with a baby’s arm. Alert the police, who investigate the area (a kind of garbage dump) and find the skull (pretty beaten), both legs and the other arm. Without lifting the partridge too much, the commissioner orders the new garbage to be checked as it arrives. On the same day, a collector leaves another bag. Inside there was a thorax – the corpse was already complete. Autopsy determined death from skull fracture. No suspects.
Two years later (1898), in the same place, another passerby found a new baby corpse wrapped in a rag, also with shattered skull. A dreadful detail was added: the little body had multiple signs of burns. The autopsy added one more fact: while his skull was devastated, death had been given by asphyxiation. He was hanged.
By postal data from the garbage that shared the bag with the body, the police were able to determine which wheelman had transported the body to the dumpster. When questioned, he confessed to seeing the remains of the baby, but did not warn the police for fear of being involved in the macabre act. By directing the investigation to the area where the wheelman had collected the body, they managed to find a family that was always in mourning. They lived in Calle Artes 1438 (today Carlos Pellegrini), in Retiro. The family consisted of Cayetano Domingo Grossi, his spouse Rosa Ponce de Nicola, Rosa’s two eldest daughters (Clara and Catalina) and three minors.
The family of the killer
Neighbors claimed that Grossi had intimate relationships with her stepdaughters. In addition, they claimed that a short time before Clara had been pregnant and that once the pregnancy ended they had never seen any baby. Once the search warrant was obtained, the police found under one of the beds a can containing the body of another baby, wrapped in a rag very similar to that of the dump. Grossi stated that the sack they had actually found belonged to him and that he had killed the baby at Clara’s request. The one who was in the can, on the contrary, was born lifeless. He insisted he wasn’t a murderer.
Finally, the family broke down and confessed everything. Grossi had violated his stepdaughters and helped in childbirth. Once the babies were born, he hanged them and threw them into the fire (in the presence of their mothers). He was sentenced to death by firing squad.
On April 6, 1900, the day of his execution, the children were allowed to visit him for the last time. They didn’t show any emotion. Lorenzo, the youngest, only 6 years old, did not want to go anywhere. When the father tried to pet him, he ran away. At 8 AM, three federal police officers blindfolded him and tied his feet and hands. Seconds later, they fired their rifles. They were done with the monster.<
Hipólito Azema nació en Buenos Aires, en los comienzos de la década del 80. No se sabe desde cuándo, porque esas cosas son difíciles de determinar, le gusta contar historias, pero más le gusta que se las cuenten: quizás por eso transitó los inefables pasillos de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Una vez escuchó que donde existe una necesidad nace un derecho y se lo creyó.
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