May 12, 1913
Spanish child-murderer Enriqueta Martí is lynched
Martí spent her days begging at charities and convents, using street children she claimed as her own to further her deceit. She would then murder the children or prostitute them to wealthy clients whom she would socialize with at night. When she was arrested under suspicions of running a brothel of children prostitutes, she was able to get away without prosecution thanks to her connections to Barcelona’s high society, many of whom used her services.
Along with prostitution, the children were also useful to Martí as ingredients of various “medicines.” At the time, Barcelona was highly superstitious and relied on witch-doctors to treat various ailments including tuberculosis. Martí would use the fat, blood, hair, and bones of her victims to make potions, ointments, and salves to sell to wealthy clients.
Martí’s end came after she abducted a young girl named Teresita Guitart Congos, putting the community on guard. A neighbor noticed a young girl at Martí’s flat she had never seen before and alerted authorities. Under a ruse of a complaint of chickens in the flat, police investigated and discovered 2 girls in the residence whom Martí claimed to be her daughters. The girls informed police their “mom” had told them both they no longer had families and were going to live with her. One also told officers a story about her “mom” killing a boy on the kitchen table. Upon further investigation, police found bloody children’s clothing as well as a bloodied knife.
Martí was never tried for her crimes. She attempted suicide in prison with a wooden knife which outraged the public who demanded a trial and execution by garrote. However, her prison-mates lynched her before this could happen, upsetting authorities who hoped to gain more information on her victims. Forensics could only determine 12 individual children’s remains were found in or near Martí’s flat, and the victims’ ages ranged from infancy to 9-years-old. However, her career is estimated to have spanned over 20 years so her victim count is likely considerably higher.