July 10, 2008
Ahmad Suradji is executed for the murders of at least 42 women and girls who were buried facing his house
The victims, whose ages ranged from 17 to 40, sought Suradji out due to his reputation of being a dukun or shaman, looking to achieve desires such as wealth, beauty, love, or spiritual advice. They were buried to their waists then strangled, stripped naked to encourage faster decomposition, then buried completely in the ground with their heads facing Suradji’s house.
Suradji claimed this elaborate ritual was inspired by his father’s ghost who told him to drink the saliva of 70 young, dead women to become a mystic healer. Suradji noted his father never told him to kill the women, that was simply a choice he made himself as finding 70 young, dead women would be difficult to come across naturally.
The murders spanned from 1986 and 1997 until the nude body of a 21-year-old woman was found 3 days after being dropped off at Suradji’s house. Suradji and his three wives (all sisters) were arrested; two of the wives were convicted of helping hide the bodies while the third wife and Suradji were sentenced to death for the murders, though the wife’s sentence was commuted to a life sentence. Suradji was executed by firing squad, with prison officials noting he seemed resigned to his fate.