Marcelo Costa de Andrade, aka the Vampire of Niteroi, is a Brazilian serial killer. He is a monster who was convicted of raping and murdering 14 boys. He was a pedophile, a necrophile, and in some ways, a cannibal, in so far as he drank his victim’s blood on occasion.
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This one tripped me out. I thought about doing a “vampire” mini-series, but to be honest, that was too bleak even for me to do. Shout out to Nothing Rhymes With Murder, episode 21.
If I were to describe this man to you… I don’t exactly know how to word this in a way that doesn’t sound complimentary. There’s no way around it, out of all the killers I’ve talked about so far, he was by far the most attractive at the time of the photo. Which given certain facts of his life, I guess would make sense. I feel like this case was tragic all around.
Marcelo Costa de Andrade was born on January 2nd, 1967 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. he was born into extreme poverty in the Rocinha slum. In order to understand the level of poverty, I’m going to describe the population between 1967 and approximately 1993.
Rocinha is the most notorious ghetto in Brazil. It sprawls down the hillside and overlooks the high-rises of So Conrado. The people who live in the slum see the rich people, and the divide is said to be staggering. One of the things that you first notice is the thousands of homeless kids who are always roaming the streets of the favela.
Rocinha has an estimated population of 150,000. It’s a dangerous place, so much so that children die in such numbers that Brazil has been compared to a country at war. Like we’re talking almost 4 thousand violent deaths of children between 1987 and 2001. The majority were victims of an ever-escalating drug war that has continued raging in the slums. Mainly cocaine. Children would be employed as ‘soldiers’ by drug lords, so armed teenagers would frequently be found murdering each other in the streets taking out innocent bystanders in the process, daily. Those who don’t run drugs are forced to survive any other way they can. They scavenge for food, sell gum, polish shoes, beg, steal, mug and sometimes even kill. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found hell on Earth.
At some point in the 90s, children were being actively taken out by roving extermination squads made of of police and security guards. Let me repeat that, people employed by the GOVERNMENT were told to go around and literally kill children. In 1991, at least four children were being executed every day to “clean up the streets.”
Now here’s where we start to get into the seedy connection to Marcelo. You see, with a daily death toll as high as the one in Brazil, the authorities didn’t even notice that somebody else, acting on their own, was slaughtering young boys in the slums. Marcelo grew up in that slum and his childhood reflected in many ways the same as that of the street kids: he had no food on the table, there was no running water, he was physically and sexually abused his entire life, and didn’t go to school. Marcelo spent most of his time on the street hustling. He was just 10 when he ran away from home for the first time. Tragically, at 14, he started selling himself to adult men for sex just to get by. At 16, he moved in with an older man, but when he was thrown out he went to live with his mother in another nearby Rio slum. Aged 17, he tried to rape his 10-year-old brother, and started listening obsessively to tapes he had made of his brother crying.
I’m not gonna lie, listeners, I don’t have to explain the psychology to you for this one. This hell on earth was practically a breeding ground for a killer. Like… this is the recipe. I’m honestly shocked they only have had one serial killer that was like this. It feels like there should have been many… many more. Still… there is always a choice to not kill, and even though their world is bleak, that doesn’t make it acceptable.
For Marcelo, it wasn’t difficult to blend in and lure the children away from prying eyes to abandoned spots and their slaughter. While the children from the Rio slums were wary of the dangers that constantly surrounded them, Marcelo seemed to be one of the few adults they could trust, with his harmless, dare I say it attractive, appearance, a gentle manner and a soft, childlike way of speaking. At the time of his killing spree, Marcelo was 23 years old, and lived with his mother. He regularly attended church, had a normal job, and when talking to children made constant allusions to his faith in God.
It was when he stopped hustling and became a church boy that his killing spree began. According to Marcelo, it was an encounter with a young transvestite that was the trigger. And once he’d begun there was no stopping him.
Marcello recalled in an interview with Epoca magazine in 2003. “One day when I was walking I met a 14-year-old boy. A transvestite, He propositioned me to go to a hotel with him. I had sex with him and kissed him on the mouth. I paid him 50 Reais [14$]. I never got to see him again. But it sparked the desire for new boys. As I didn’t find another one like him I ended up forcing myself on others. I always took them to a deserted spot. The sadism went to my head. I ended up killing some of them… I do not remember their faces very well. The first one I caught was in Niteroi (Knee-Tarer-Oy). I only know that his name was Anderson. I offered him money. I said he could help me light candles in the church. I took him to a deserted place. When we got there I raped him. I then strangled him with his own shirt. I returned to the spot where the body was three times, to see if anyone had discovered anything. Nobody ever suspected me.”
Marcelo went on to murder 13 other street kids, following the same pattern as the first. He lured them with sweets and money to secluded spots, raped them, strangled them or beat them to death and had sex with their corpses. He then buried them in shallow graves.
In two instances he drank their blood. After sexually abusing his victims, often for an entire night, he would crack their heads open and collect the blood in a bowl to drink. De Andrade carried the bowl with him everywhere he went. He drank their blood so that he would be “as young and cute as them” and killed them so they “would go to Heaven”. He also removed his victims’ shorts and kept them as trophies. De Andrade targeted the “prettiest boys” he could find, always hunting for “smooth legs, and a pretty face and body”.
But there was also a religious motive for his murders. The church he attended was the controversial Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. As well as offering protection from voodoo and witchcraft, the church claims that ‘demons’ are responsible for people’s problems (including homosexuality, which is viewed by the church as a disease). De Andrade’s church would cast out these ‘demons’, and to this day the murderer claims he was possessed by evil spirits who forced him to kill because “they like children’s blood”.
During his killing spree, Marcelo was going to church four times a week, for up to five hours at a time. He claimed later that a priest had told him that boys who died under the age of 13 automatically went to heaven. He misunderstood the priest’s message, interpreting it as meaning that by killing the boys he was not only ending their awful existence in the slums but also ensuring them a one-way ticket to paradise.
Now, Marcelo was caught after one of the victims escaped and alerted the authorities. He promptly confessed, and was put into an asylum, and then into prison. He is still alive, surprisingly. Normally, child killers die in prison. I once knew a guy from Brazil who went to prison, and from what he described, it was an even worse hell than the streets.
I guess my only statement now is: be well, hug your loved ones close, and… Stay Safe Out There.