CARACAS, VENEZUELA – Juan Carlos Herrera is beyond devastated.
He says his 25-year-old-son, jailed in 2015 for robbery, was
beaten, dismembered and eaten by fellow inmates at the Táchira
The shocking claim became public on Oct. 10, when Herrera told
the local media he made the gruesome discovery during a regular
He explained the alleged atrocity occurred during a month-long
mutiny that had ended three days earlier.
“One of those who were with him when he was murdered saw
everything that happened,” Herrera told reporters. “My son and
two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed,
and then Dorancel butchered them to feed all detainees,” he
added, referring to infamous inmate Dorancel “people-eater”
Vargas, who is in prison since 1999 for cannibalism.
“The [inmate] with whom I spoke to told me that he was beaten
with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the
two boys,” Herrera added tearfully.
Herrera declined an interview with Fox News Latino due to safety
Juan Carlos Herrera Jr. and one other inmate were unaccounted
for when prison guards re-entered the facility after the calm
returned and did a routine count. The Táchira mutiny had started
as do many of the hundreds of mutinies that take place in
Venezuelan prisons every year – so far this year there have been
close to 200 riots, according to the non-governmental
organization “Una Ventana a la Libertad” (A Window to Freedom).
The news comes as Venezuela’s economic crisis keeps worsening,
with food shortages and rising poverty that are changing the
landscape of this once prosperous country.
On Sept. 8, a group of prisoners protesting overcrowded
conditions took eight visitors and two guards hostage and
demanded some of the 350 prisoners be transferred somewhere else
(the Tachira Detention Center’s capacity is 120). A month goes
by and finally, on Oct. 7, the government authorizes the
transfer of 16 inmates.
The next day, Herrera and Anthony Correa were nowhere to be
A police source who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News
Latino the claims of murder and cannibalism are true. “Two
[inmates] are missing. They cut them up and fed them to several
[of the fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel
cut the flesh,” the source said.
On Thursday night, the Minister of Correctional Affairs Iris
Varela confirmed the disappearance but denied the cannibalism
allegations. She said while she “understands the father’s pain,”
she regretted that he’s being used to channel lies that can be
Humberto Prado, coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory
(OVP) said the alleged atrocity would be nothing new in the
country’s convulsed prisons.
“Prisoners have been dismembered before and some inmates have
forced other prisoners eat their [own] fingers. That happened in
a detention center in El Tigre,” he told FNL. “But inmates die
not only from that [kind of violence], there are many prisoners
who die of hepatitis, cirrhosis or famine.”
He said the OVP will ask the Attorney’s General Office to start
an investigation and will submit the case to the United Nations
Human Rights Commission.
"What hurts me most is that I cannot bury my son, I can’t give
him a Christian burial,” Herrera said in the emotional presser.
“I beg you to give me at least one bone so we can bury him and
relieve some of this pain.”