WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: A suspected serial killer on trial for murdering a woman after raping and torturing her before ending her life and that of her unborn child had allegedly killed two other pregnant women.
Since his arrest, the defendant, named as 40-year-old Ariel Norberto Garcia, has been charged with murdering two other pregnant women after initially being freed by the courts who believed his story years ago he had acted in self-defence in a robbery gone wrong.
The latest alleged victim, 25-year-old Carolina Medina, was a mother of two who was seven months' pregnant with her third child when she was brutally raped, tortured and murdered, with her attacker fleeing the scene as she bled to death.
Garcia, who has been in prison awaiting trial since 2018, stands accused of femicide and faces a life sentence if convicted.
The high-profile trial is taking place in Florencio Varela, which is the same city in eastern Argentina's Buenos Aires Province where Carolina was murdered in a hotel along with her unborn baby, who she was reportedly planning to name Nazareno.
Garcia was handed over to the authorities by his own family in October 2018.
He has been charged with femicide, which is an aggravated homicide charge widely used in Latin American countries that recognises the deliberate targeting of women.
Garcia has also been charged with rape and torture as well as over the unborn baby's death.
The victim's widower and the father of Carolina's unborn child, named as Alfredo Humberto Roldan, said at the time she had gone out to buy some chocolate and yoghurt.
"She had cravings, she wanted chocolate and yoghurt, so she went out to buy some," he said.
Carolina was found dead about noon later that day and police identified the suspect through CCTV.
The 25-year-old and Alfredo's two other children, who have not been named but are now 11 and 9, reportedly still live with their 47-year-old maternal grandmother, Alejandra Leguizamon.
"I want to see his face and ask him why he did so much evil," she said.
More pregnant women found to be murdered
After Carolina's murder, the family discovered Natalia Belen Sotelo, 22, was pregnant when she was killed in 2010, as was Silvina Mino, 28, whose dismembered corpse was found in a stream in the area in 2017.
The defendant, who already had a record for aggravated robbery dating back to 2011, was charged with allegedly murdering both Natalia and Silvina.
Natalia was found with 33 injuries to her neck inflicted by a screwdriver. Garcia pleaded self defence in a robbery gone wrong and the court believed him, freeing him.
He was only indicted for her brutal murder eight years later.
Silvana was last seen alive with the defendant. Alejandra said Garcia had only been charged with her murder a few days ago.
"He has now been charged with these crimes, they were also pregnant," Alejandra said.
"I know I'm where I wanted to go, but sometimes it makes me sick because I relive everything. He's a serial killer. When he killed my daughter we found out about the other girls."
A serial killer is typically defined as a person who murders three or more people.
Both the woman and her partner reportedly had a history of drug abuse, according to local media, and the defendant, also a drug user known to the authorities, is believed to have lured her to the hotel under false pretences that are expected to be discussed during the trial.
Alejandra appears to doubt the possibility he lured her with drugs, saying: "She had no relationship with this man, it is not known how she got to the hotel.
"She had a very strong blow in the head, maybe that's how he took her.
"She was very happy with her partner and the arrival of the baby. She already had her bag ready in case the delivery came early. She worked doing cleaning jobs. She was cheerful, fun, always worried about her children. She was a great companion to me.
"The only thing I want is for the judiciary to do justice. That it be an exemplary sentence. What he did to my daughter and the other girls is outrageous. He cannot go free. He has to pay for what he has done."
Alejandra will be attending the trial with her husband and sister.
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