In the quiet village of San Fernando de Apure, located in the heart of Venezuela, Dorángel Vargas once lived. On the surface, he appeared to be a normal person, just like anyone else. However, beneath this seemingly ordinary facade lay a dark, twisted mind that harbored unspeakable desires.
As a child, Dorángel was known for being quiet and introverted, rarely engaging with others or showing any emotion. His troubled upbringing, marked by abuse and neglect, left him with deep emotional scars that would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Despite his troubled past, Dorángel managed to lead a relatively normal life, until a series of bizarre and disturbing incidents began to occur in his village. Men started disappearing without a trace, leaving the entire community in a state of fear and panic.
As the investigation into these disappearances progressed, all evidence eventually pointed toward Dorángel. He was arrested and interrogated but initially denied any involvement in the crimes. However, as the evidence against him mounted, he eventually confessed to his horrific crimes.
Dorángel’s crimes were truly heinous and shocked the entire nation. He had not only murdered his victims but had also cannibalized them, consuming their flesh in a twisted act of self-gratification, or as he himself put it, “tongues in stew and eyes in soup.”
The story of Dorángel Vargas remains one of the most shocking and disturbing true crime cases in the history of Venezuela and continues to haunt those affected by his actions to this day.
Who was Dorángel Vargas, The People Eater?
In the humid and unforgiving jungles of the Colombian border, where the Venezuelan Liberation Forces fought alongside the guerillas, a boy named Dorángel Vargas was born in 1957 to poor farmers.
From a young age, the locals whispered of evil spirits that possessed the child, causing him to withdraw from the world around him and retreat into a dark, brooding silence.
As he grew older, Vargas drifted further and further from his family, losing himself in a world of petty crime and thievery. He was a transient, wandering the land like a ghost, a shadow, preying on those who crossed his path.
But it wasn’t until 1995 that Vargas’s true nature was revealed when he was arrested for the brutal murder of another transient man. In a twisted act of cannibalism, Vargas had consumed the flesh of his victim, relishing in the sickening taste of human meat.
It was then that Vargas was deemed unfit for society, and was institutionalized, confined to a world of padded walls and locked doors. But even behind bars, the whispers of the evil spirits that had possessed him continued to haunt him, a reminder of the horrors he had committed and the darkness that still lurked within his soul.
What Exactly Did Dorángel Vargas Do?
After his institutionalization, Vargas thought his days of carnage were behind him. But evil, like a virus, cannot be contained forever, and soon the darkness within him emerged again.
Fleeing into the wilds of the Táchira state, Vargas found refuge in a ranch at a park in San Cristobal. There, he lived in the shadows, stalking his prey like a feral beast. His victims were many, and their screams of injustice echoed through the night as he devoured their flesh, savoring the taste of their blood.
Despite his best efforts to hide the evidence of his heinous crimes, the police were on his trail. They stumbled upon the grisly remains of Vargas’s victims and assumed the area was the burial ground of drug dealers or even a satanic death cult.
But as the investigation continued, it became clear that the true perpetrator of these gruesome acts was Vargas himself. He was soon identified as the prime suspect in the murders, and when the police searched his shack, they found a horror show beyond comprehension.
Multiple vessels filled with human flesh and body parts lined the walls, a grotesque display of the monster that lurked within. Vargas’s reign of terror had finally ended, but the memory of his atrocities would haunt all who crossed his path, a chilling reminder that the darkness lurking within us all can sometimes take on a life of its own.
The media frenzy surrounding Vargas’s crimes was unprecedented in Venezuela, a country with little history of serial killers. The press dubbed him “The Hannibal Lecter of the Andes,” referencing the fictional cannibal from the acclaimed novel and film.
But the question on everyone’s mind was whether Vargas was genuinely insane or simply a cold-blooded killer. A psychological evaluation proved inconclusive, leaving experts to debate his mental state. Some psychiatrists believed he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, while others pointed to his psychopathic tendencies as evidence of a more deliberate, calculated mind.
But as rumors swirled and conspiracy theories took hold, the truth behind Vargas’s crimes remained in mystery. Some speculated that he was a mere pawn in a larger, more sinister game, a fall guy for an organ trafficking ring that operated in the shadows.
However, the police were resolute in their conviction that they had captured the true killer. Vargas’s history of violent, cannibalistic behavior made him a prime suspect in the serial killings that had gripped the country. They were confident they had captured the monster responsible for so much bloodshed.
Regardless of the speculation and doubt surrounding his case, one thing was clear: Dorángel Vargas would forever be etched in the annals of true crime history, a chilling reminder of the darkness that can lurk within even the most unassuming of individuals.
How Did Dorángel Vargas Find His Victims?
Dorángel Vargas was a man with a taste for the macabre, a twisted monster who saw nothing wrong with taking the lives of innocent people to satisfy his own sick desires.
His modus operandi was simple but brutal. He would target healthy male passersby, choosing athletes, laborers, and sometimes even drunkards as his victims. Women, children, and the elderly were spared, deemed unsuitable for consumption due to their cholesterol levels or “contaminated flesh.”
Using a tube-shaped metal spear or rocks, Vargas would bludgeon his victims to death before dismembering and cannibalizing their bodies. He had a particular preference for the muscles, with thighs and calves being a personal favorite.
According to Vargas himself, he would use the tongues to make stew and include the eyes in a soup but would try to avoid consuming the hands, feet, noses, ears, and testicles.
Without a refrigerator to preserve his grisly haul, Vargas was forced to kill routinely, the decomposing body parts quickly becoming a nauseating reminder of his depravity. The parts he did not consume were buried around his shack, while the bones were tossed into the nearby river.
“Indeed,” Gomez freely admitted, “I eat people. Everyone can eat human flesh, but in order to prevent infections, you must wash and garnish it properly.
“I exclusively eat the sections of the animal that have muscles, especially my favorite parts, the thighs, and calves. I use the tongue to make an excellent stew and the eyeballs to make a nutritious and healthful soup.”
And when Vargas was locked up in prison, his appetite for violence and cannibalism showed no signs of abating. During a mutiny, he and a gang of fellow inmates brutally murdered three men before dismembering and consuming their flesh in a gruesome feast of blood and terror (next section).
“Human meat is nice, but I eat all kinds of meat, dog, cats, lizards. I buried the heads and feet and threw 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.”
- Dorángel Vargas
What Did Dorángel Vargas Do in Prison?
In a gruesome twist to an already horrific tale, Vargas’s appetite for violence and cannibalism knew no bounds, even within the confines of a maximum-security prison.
During a mutiny, Vargas and a gang of 40 other men descended upon a hapless robber arrested just four years prior. A nightmare scene followed as the group savagely beat and mutilated the man, leaving him to die a slow, agonizing death.
But Vargas was far from done. With bloodlust in his eyes, he and his gang turned their attention to two other inmates, their screams echoing through the halls as they were subjected to the same brutal fate as their predecessor.
After the killings, Vargas and his gang “hanged to bleed” the bodies, dismembering them with cold precision. And to add insult to injury, the twisted killer served their body parts to the starving inmates as a macabre feast, relishing in terror and suffering that he had inflicted upon his fellow prisoners.
It was a scene of unspeakable horror, a testament to the depths of depravity that one man could sink to. And while justice may have eventually caught up with Vargas, the memory of his crimes will continue to haunt those unfortunate enough to bear witness to his reign of terror.
Dorángel Vargas is currently detained in the basement cell of Tachira police station in Venezuela, where even his guards are terrified of him.
Gomez refused to acknowledge that he should be locked up and kept bragging about his cannibalistic impulses even after imprisonment.
He claimed, “I used to eat the thighs, not the nose, ears, or hands since they are too tough. If I encountered a drunken person sleeping, I would murder him with my spear, chop off his head, and feel joyful. I wish to return to that location and make a large grave for them.
“I have nothing to be ashamed of. They jailed me without cause.”
How Do People React to Dorángel Vargas?
In Caracas, Venezuela, Juan Carlos Herrera still mourns the death of his 25-year-old son, who was incarcerated for robbery in 2015. His son was brutally beaten, dismembered, and eaten by fellow inmates at the Táchira Detention Center.
The allegations were made public on October 10th, after Herrera discovered the gruesome truth during a regular prison visit. The horrific incident was said to have occurred during a month-long mutiny that ended in late 2016.
Herrera recounted the details, stating that his son, along with two others, was taken by a group of 40 people and was then stabbed, hanged to bleed, and eventually butchered by Dorángel Vargas.
Herrera’s voice quivered as he continued, stating that the witness he spoke with told him that his son was beaten with a hammer to force him to eat the remains of the other two boys. The devastating news has left Herrera and his family in complete shock and despair.
Juan Carlos Herrera Jr. and one other inmate were reported missing during a routine count after the end of the month-long mutiny at the Táchira Detention Center in 2016. The facility was one of nearly 200 Venezuelan prisons that have experienced similar incidents this year, according to the NGO “Una Ventana a la Libertad.”
The country’s economic crisis, including food shortages and rising poverty, contributed to the situation, where other prisoners happily participated in Dorángel’s death dance.
The mutiny, which started on September 8, involved prisoners protesting against overcrowding, resulting in eight visitors and two guards being taken hostage. The inmates demanded that 350 prisoners be transferred out of the detention center, which had a capacity of 120.
After a month of negotiations, the government authorized the transfer of 16 inmates on October 7, but Herrera and Anthony Correa were not accounted for the next day.
A police source who wished to remain anonymous confirmed the cannibalism allegations, stating that Dorángel Vargas had dismembered the missing inmates and fed their remains to other prisoners, making the bones disappear.
However, the Minister of Correctional Affairs, Iris Varela, denied the cannibalism claims, expressing regret that Herrera was being used to disseminate lies that could be “easily debunked.”
Humberto Prado, the coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), has weighed in on the disturbing reports of cannibalism in the Táchira Detention Center. Unfortunately, his statement confirms that such heinous acts are common in Venezuela’s prisons.
Prado shared that incidents of prisoners being dismembered and even forced to eat their fingers have been reported in the past and that many inmates suffer from fatal diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, and malnutrition.
The OVP calls for an official investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and plans to bring the case to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. This incident is a clear violation of human rights, and it is crucial that justice is served for the victim and his family and all those who have suffered similar atrocities in Venezuelan prisons.
Juan Carlos Herrera Jr.’s father held an emotional press conference in December 2016, expressing his profound sorrow and frustration at being unable to provide his son with a proper Christian burial. His anguish was palpable as he begged for just one bone to be returned to him so he could finally lay his son to rest and begin healing from this devastating loss.
The tragic tale of Juan Carlos Herrera Jr. and his alleged cannibalistic murder at the hands of fellow inmates, including the infamous Dorángel Vargas, is a stark reminder of the dire state of Venezuela’s prison system. While the country’s economic crisis and political turmoil have certainly exacerbated the problem, reports of overcrowding, violence, and human rights violations in prisons have been ongoing for years.
It is not enough to acknowledge these issues; action must be taken to address them. The Venezuelan government must take responsibility for the safety and well-being of its prisoners and work to implement reforms that prioritize human rights and the rule of law. International organizations and human rights advocates must continue to pressure the government to take action and hold those responsible for these atrocities accountable.
In the meantime, the Herrera family and all those who have suffered similar losses deserve our empathy and support. Their pain and grief are a testament to the human toll of this crisis, and we must not forget them in our efforts to bring about change. Only through collective action and a steadfast commitment to justice can we hope to prevent future tragedies like this one.
Concluding the Bloody Tale
Dorángel Vargas was a monster unlike any other, a creature of pure evil whose thirst for blood knew no bounds. And though justice may have eventually caught up with him, the memory of his crimes will continue to haunt the nightmares of those unlucky enough to cross his path.
The case of Dorángel Vargas shocked the world and highlighted the dire situation of Venezuela’s prison system. The situation has only worsened in recent years, with overcrowding, lack of resources, and widespread corruption leading to frequent riots and violence.
The Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP) estimates that there have been over 8,000 deaths in the country’s prisons since 2011, with many inmates dying from preventable causes such as malnutrition and lack of medical care. The OVP has repeatedly called on the government to address the crisis and improve conditions in the country’s prisons, but little has been done.
The story of Dorángel Vargas serves as a warning of what can happen when a society neglects its most vulnerable members. Vargas was a product of his environment, driven to extreme measures by poverty and hunger.
His actions were monstrous, but they were also a symptom of a deeper problem that plagues Venezuela today.
As Juan Carlos Herrera Sr. continues to fight for justice for his son, the world watches and waits to see if Venezuela will finally address its prison crisis and prevent more tragedies like the one that befell Herrera Jr. and his fellow inmates at the Táchira Detention Center on a dark and fateful day in December 2016.
Next, read about Brian Shaffer, the Young Man Who Disappeared from a Pub. Then, if you’re into some really dark reading, read about the Rat Torture in the Medieval Times!
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