Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés — we’ll just call her Enriqueta to go easy on the accent marks — is a serial killer of children, who haunted Spain during the early 1900s. Active during a serious population boon in Barcelona’s history, Enriqueta was able to use the influx to her advantage, procuring victims from poverty-stricken families. She practiced witchcraft and was referred to as “the vampire of Barcelona,” with good reason.
Enriqueta initially fell under suspicion of authorities for running brothels with child sex workers. They didn’t realize at the time — or perhaps, didn’t want to realize — that she was also killing and dismembering the victims for use in her salves and potions. When Enriqueta’s crimes were finally brought to the forefront, police were able to trace her different locations and find at least three houses harboring human remains. Most of the victims ranged in age from infancy to 9 years old.
As is often the case with serial murderers, conspiracies abounded as to how Enriqueta could escape justice for as long as she did. It is said that she had many prominent clients — doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. — who had unhealthy sexual appetites and that great efforts were taken on the part of the guilty to keep the full scope of Enriqueta’s crimes from coming to light. Guilt by association, you might say.
The public, however, was not willing to turn a blind eye. After Enriqueta tried taking her own life while in prison, there was outcry to keep her alive so that she could be tried, convicted, and executed for her crimes. There was also interest from law enforcement to keep her breathing so the exact number of her victims would not die with her. All these efforts were for naught, however.
On May 12, 1913, an uprising of inmates targeted Enriqueta and lynched her on a prison patio. She was 45 years old.
The short film La Ropavejera (trailer above) offers a chilling look at what it might have been like to live in Enriqueta’s “home.” She has more often shown up in literature with the latest major work being the Marc Pastor novel Barcelona Shadows.
(Featured Image: Wikipedia Commons)