Ricardo Silvio Caputo kept a low profile for several years, until he finally turned himself in to be processed for four charges of homicide by strangulation and knife stabbing, for which he was sentenced to 25 years in a New York prison.
Who was Ricardo Caputo?
Ricardo Silvio Caputo, better known as ‘The Lady Killer’, was a serial killer to whom four deaths are attributed. He was born in 1949 in Mendoza, Argentina, in a family of which very little is known. According to one of his brothers, Ricardo Caputo was abused physically and sexually when he was just a boy.
These accusations have not been confirmed, but it is believed that this is one of the reasons why he moved to New York in 1970. It was in that city where, according to his own statements, he began hearing voices which asked him to kill. That’s how he committed his first murder: A young New York girl that he strangled and stabbed.
The Lady Killer
A lot of people believe that Ricardo Silvio Caputo cannot be considered a serial killer, although others assert that he’s one of the most feared fugitives of the 1970s, due to the ruthless nature of his actions, which led him to kill only young women he found in a vulnerable state.
Over a period of six years, Caputo killed four women from New York, San Francisco and Mexico City. His first crime occurred in 1971; the second one, in 1974; the third, in 1975, and the last one in 1977, in Mexico. For over 20 years, he hid at his mother’s home, in Argentina, in order to escape from authorities.
The victims of Ricardo Silvio Caputo were: Nathalie Brown (New York), Judith Becker (New York), Barbara Ann Taylor (San Francisco) and Laura Gomez (Mexico City). The authorities in charge of the case assure that Caputo could have killed many more women, although they did not provide an estimated figure.
Among the victims also suspected of being killed by Ricardo Silvio Caputo are Devann Green (Los Angeles) and Jacqueline Bernard, a 64-year-old woman; she was a friend of the latter who came to the conclusion that the murderer was Caputo. For the death of Nathalie Brown, the police exonerated him, claiming that he suffered from schizophrenia and that he should remain in a psychiatric hospital on the advice of Judith Becker, his psychiatrist, who finally died at the hands of Caputo.
Arrest and sentence
While being a fugitive, Caputo changed his identity at least 17 times. Using his identity as Ricardo Donoguier, he lived for a while in Honolulu, where he assaulted and tried to kill Mary O’Neill, but she survived the attack. When he went back to San Francisco, he said he heard the voices again, asking him to kill Barbara Ann Taylor, his fiancée.
After several other murders and two marriages, in 1994 he decided to travel to Argentina, where he told his mother everything he had done. He turned himself in on March 9, 1994, putting an end to a 20-year search and to one of the most macabre cases in the history of crime in the US. The murderer died of a heart attack when he was 48.