|“||To Mr. and Mrs. Guzman. I would have never hurt little Jessica Guzman. I have two daughters of my own, one who is named Jessica, who is also my life. I had no reason to take any of these children's lives.||”|
— Henriquez at his trial
Alejandro "Alex" Henriquez, also known as The Bronx Serial Killer, is an American serial killer and serial rapist, active in New York City's Bronx district between 1989 and 1990. He has been convicted of three murders and suspected of two more. He is currently serving three consecutive 25 years to life sentences, while still maintaining his innocence.
Born in 1961, Henriquez grew up in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, New York City. He was the youngest of seven siblings and stepsiblings. His father was a barber, while his mother worked as a polisher in Manhattan's jewelry district before moving to her native Puerto Rico. According to himself, he lived a happy childhood, his parents did everything for him, and he attended the best schools, even though he eventually dropped out. He always denied allegations by the police that he had suffered sexual abuse as a child. As an adult, he was known as a liar, deceiver, and fraudster. He would claim to be the owner of a livery car company, while, in reality, he conned airport rental agencies by subleasing rented cars to drivers. He cheated his "wife", Andrea Rosario (who wasn't really his wife, and who he reportedly battered), with various girlfriends he exploited to obtain credit cards in his name on their accounts, which he later used in his business. He threatened them or disappeared when he didn't have the money to pay his debts. He also told the children of his neighborhood he was an NYPD detective or an undercover DEA agent, letting them play in his cars, and buying them video games and toys. With the older teenagers, he bragged about the women he dated, which he says was because of his car, charm and clean-cut appearance. Even before being indicted of murder, he was charged with molesting his niece and, in 1983, the daughter of one of his girlfriends. In December 1990, when he was first arrested on charges of having committed a 1987 robbery at a Manhattan yacht club where his previous wife worked, he also pleaded guilty to an assault charge (in 1988, he had scalded the three-year-old son of Andrea Rosario with hot water, although he claimed the incident was caused by his negligence).
Killings and Arrest
Henriquez was considered a "person of interest" by the authorities in relation to two murder cases. The victims were Shamira Bello, 14, and Lisa Rodriguez, 21. Shamira disappeared from her neighborhood on July 2, 1988. Her body was found the next day in Pelham Bay Park. She had been raped and bludgeoned to death with repeated blows to the head. Later, two more children were found strangled to death in 1989: Nilda Cartagena (coincidentally Henriquez's own thirteen-year-old niece) and Heriberto Marrero, 15. Henriquez was never indicted of these murders. In June 1990, Lisa Ann Rodriguez was also found dead, wearing pants which were later found to belong to Andrea Rosario. Henriquez reportedly knew Shamira and dated Lisa, who he presented to his landlady as his own niece. That same year, on October 17, Jessica Guzman's body was found near the Bronx River Parkway. This latest murder stunned the community, prompting the NYPD to form a 40-member task force to track down the suspected serial killer. They linked the cases together, and eventually concluded only Alex Henriquez, who was the last person to see Jessica alive (since she was a friend of his daughter), could have killed them all. While he was being investigated for the Guzman murder, authorities were able to link him to the 1987 armed robbery, and he was held without bail. During the entire series of murders, Henriquez participated to search parties and candlelight prayer vigils. He also injected himself into the investigations, trying to obtain information on the bloodhounds' searches of the crime scenes. In January 1991, he attempted to mislead detectives by convincing his nephew to make a phone call to the media claiming to be the killer and, by doing this, he revealed to know details of the murders only the real killer would know (e.g. Jessica's pants color scheme, which at the time police didn't know due to discoloration from the elements). In July of the same year, he was indicted of the Bello, Rodriguez, and Guzman murders.
Trial and Incarceration
During the course of his trial, which began on July 15, 1992, Henriquez's lawyer, Mel Sachs, argued the authorities were searching for a scapegoat for the crimes. On the other hand, the prosecution was able to link Henriquez to the killings through circumstantial, forensic, and witness evidence. On August 28, he was convicted on all charges. He was condemned to three consecutive 25 years to life imprisonment sentences. He is currently incarcerated at the Sullivan Correctional Facility, in New York State, and still maintains his innocence.
Henriquez mainly targeted females between 5 and 21 he personally knew. As for his murders, he bludgeoned to death or asphyxiated his victims and then usually dropped their bodies (in Jessica Guzman's case he stuffed her inside a black garbage bag) inside parks which bordered main roads. Either by his own choice or mere coincidence, all the locations where he dropped the bodies of his confirmed victims were near police facilities. His first murder victim, Shamira Bello, was also raped before being killed.
FBI profiler James R. Fitzgerald claimed Henriquez is a self centered psychopathic individual, with a constant, narcissistic need for power, control and attention. He lies as a means of self-preservation and sustenance. He has a very positive perception of himself, and uses his superficial charm to fulfill his own ends. He was probably incapable of having normal sexual interactions with adult women, which is why he directed his attention to younger girls, who he could also manipulate. He surrounded himself with people he deemed inferior to him (teenagers, children...), as a means to feel more powerful. Like many other serial killers, he reportedly pretended to be a law enforcement official, possessed a fake badge, and always carried a .38 pistol with himself. He also drove a large, police-like Lincoln sedan.
With the exception of the 1987 robbery and the 1983 molestation, all the following occured in New York City's Bronx district. Dates and locations refer to when and where the bodies were found.
- Unspecified dates and locations: His unnamed niece (threatened with a knife and repeatedly molested since she was nine)
- Unspecified date and location in 1983: New Jersey: Unnamed five-year-old girl (his girlfriend's daughter; was sodomized)
- Unspecified date in 1987: Manhattan: A robbery at the World Yacht Club
- Unspecified dates and locations: Andrea Rosario (his "wife"; repeatedly battered )
- July 3: Pelham Bay Park, Rodman's Neck: Shamira Bello, 14 (raped and bludgeoned to death)
- Unspecified date in December: Unnamed three-year-old boy (the son of his "wife"; was scalded with hot water)
- June 21, 1989: Near Whitestone Bridge: (possibly; both were strangled)
- Nilda Cartagena, 13 (his niece)
- Heriberto Marrero, 15
- June 14: Near the Hutchinson River Parkway: Lisa Ann Rodriguez, 21
- October 17: Near the Bronx River Parkway: Jessica Guzman, 10 (asphyxiated)
On Criminal Minds
- Season Two:
- "Fear and Loathing" - While Henriquez was never directly referenced on the show, he appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Terrance Wakeland - Both are sexually motivated serial killers who targeted young girls, were superficially charming and managed to attract their victims to secluded places where they would eventually assault them, killed them by beating or strangling them, dumped their bodies in green areas, and were active inside New York State in a relatively small community, with their murders generating wide-spread panic and consternation.
- Henriquez is impressively similar to Wayne Williams, the man convicted of two and suspected of most of the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981. Both were non-Caucasian, inadequate men in their twenties who grew up in a poor ethnic neighborhood, were pampered by their parents, were known as liars and boasters by people around them, were obsessed with law enforcement (both pretended to be policemen at some point in their lives, possessed fake badges, carried guns, and drove official-looking cars), and had no real jobs to talk about (Henriquez basically conned people for a living, while Williams lived with his parents and was a failed talent agent). Both also spent a great deal of time with children (as a means to feel empowered and confident among them), mostly targeted children of their same ethnic group but also killed young adults, and had a troubled sexuality (Williams never had a relationship of any sort, which prompted some to think he was homosexual; Henriquez was said to be sexually incompetent, even if promiscuous, with adult women). Both turned to young children in order to act out sexual fantasies they had on adults. Both injected theirselves into the investigations over their respective series of murders.
- Murderpedia's article on Henriquez
- Serial killer serving 75 years for the murders of three girls STILL maintains his innocence as he breaks his silence in harrowing prison documentary with Piers Morgan
- Intricate Trail to Bronx Murder Charges - The New York Times
- Who is Alex Henriquez? Investigating Piers Morgan's serial killer interview
- New York Magazine - October 19, 1992 - Portrait of a Serial Killer - Stephen J. Dubner
- Serial Killer with Piers Morgan - 3x01 - Alejandro Henriquez.