India's First International News Journal

19.1 C
Friday, March 31, 2023

Killed 33 babies for profit – Signed adoption papers then strangled the children on the same day


Luísa de Jesus was only 23 when she died, but in her short life she managed to kill 33 infants and possibly more.

Luísa’s story not only caused a huge reaction in Portugal, but spread like wildfire across Europe. People found it hard to believe that a young woman could show such cruelty.

Little is known about Luísa’s childhood except that she was born in 1748, the daughter of a poor peasant couple.
Luisa of Jesus
She must have married early, but there is no mention of her husband. Luísa worked as a kind of courier, transporting goods between villages and towns for a fee.

But there wasn’t much to make from the freight, and Luísa began to wonder how she could make more money.

And came across an idea.

The children’s bike

In the 18th century, the so-called children’s bicycle was used in many parts of the continent.

It was a kind of cylinder outside an orphanage where desperate, and usually single, mothers could put their newborn babies and turn them.

Inside, the child was welcomed, but some orphanages were worse than others, and sometimes children died because they weren’t picked up from the cylinder.

In fact, a similar concept is still used today. It is that people can leave babies, who are not welcome in the world, anonymously in a safe place. Such delivery points can be found in many parts of the world, including hospitals and fire stations.

The Portuguese government paid anyone willing to adopt a child 600 réis, the equivalent of six months’ salary for a maid, and accompanied the baby with a cradle and half a meter of cotton.

Consequently, there were considerable sums at stake, and LuÍsa made extra money by selling the cribs and the product over the counter.

Often adopted several children per month

So Luísa started to adopt children with great enthusiasm. Sometimes she signed adoption papers with her own name, but she also used other names.

Since Luísa was so young, she usually explained that she was on behalf of clients or employers.

After getting her hands on the babies, she strangled them.

Some she buried at the foot of Monte Arroio, others she buried in her own garden and still others she stuffed into clay pots that were near her home.

As remarkable as it was now, no one seemed to see anything wrong with the same young woman rotating between orphanages and adopting children, sometimes several a month.

Especially since the number of orphanages was limited and LuÍsa adopted many children from the same institutions.

The first body is found

Nobody knows how long Luísa would have continued her career without Angélica Maria. a woman who worked to relieve the needy, saw the body of a child at the foot of the mountain on April 1, 1772.

Angélica informed the authorities who have already opened an investigation. It turned out that the child had been adopted by Luísa de Jesus, who this time used her own name.

She was arrested and immediately admitted to killing two other infants days before her arrest.

Luísa’s home was raided and the bodies of 18 infants were found buried in her garden or in clay pots.

Thirteen others were found at the foot of the mountain.

A total of 33 infant bodies were found, but during the investigation it was discovered that Luísa had adopted 34 children, but she stubbornly refused to reveal anything about the fate of this child.

The body of this child has never been found.

The judge fidgets and swears

Luísa was charged with 33 murders, but for some reason she refused to confess to more than 28 murders. Which had absolutely no importance for the trial.

Two orphanage workers were arrested and charged with negligence, but were later released.

During the trial, LuÍsa’s lawyer pointed out that she had not reached the age of 25, which was then the minimum age for the death penalty.

But the judge rejected that argument, saying that if she was old enough to commit such crimes, she was old enough to suffer the consequences.

LuÍsa was then sentenced to death.

The day of death

On July 1, 1772, LuÍsa was forced to walk around the city with a rope around her neck.

She was preceded by a caller who read about her crimes and the enraged public threw trash and the like at her.

Then her hands were cut off and Luísa was tortured with red irons. She must have been happy the moment she was escorted to the execution platform and hanged.

His body was cremated and his ashes were thrown to the wind.

Luísa de Jesus was the last woman executed in Portugal.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

Help us continue our mission to deliver the latest news and stories by becoming a supporter of our newspaper. Your support will help us to continue to provide high-quality journalism, and to ensure that our content remains free and accessible to all. Click here to show your support. Thank you!

For latest updates and news follow The Eastern Herald on Google News, Instagram, Facebook, and also on Twitter.
News Room
News Room
The Eastern Herald’s Editorial Board validates, writes, and publishes the stories under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here




Read More