NEW YORK – A police officer dreamed up plots to kidnap, torture, cook and eat women whose photos, names and addresses he pulled from a confidential law enforcement database, authorities said Thursday.
Gilberto Valle’s fantasies about cannibalizing women – in one, he said he hoped to “cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible” – were retrieved in a trail of emails, computer files and instant messages in online fetish chat rooms, and authorities said he was arrested because he was taking steps to carry them out.
None of the women was harmed, although a prosecutor said some of the women knew Valle and he had stalked at least two of them at home or work – once in his police car in a “very intimidating fashion.”
Valle’s estranged wife tipped authorities off to his chilling online activity, leading to his arrest, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press.
Valle, 28, was held without bail on charges including kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorized use of law enforcement records. U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman called the charges against him “profoundly disturbing … the most depraved, most dangerous conduct that can be imagined” and even more troubling because he is a police officer. Pitman said the charges of the steps Valle took to carry out the plot “suggest more than just talk.”
One document on Valle’s computer was titled “Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint,” according to the criminal complaint. The file also had the woman’s birth date and other personal information and a list of “materials needed” – a car, chloroform and rope.
In online conversations, investigators said, Valle talked about the mechanics of fitting the woman’s body into an oven (her legs would have to be bent), said he could make chloroform at home to knock a woman out and discussed how “tasty” one woman looked.
Valle could face life in prison if convicted.
Public defender Julia Gatto had asked for bail, saying the Valle was only guilty of a “deviant fantasy.”
“There’s no actual crossing the line from fantasy to reality,” Gatto said. “At worst this is someone who has sexual fantasies about people he knows and he talks about it on the Internet.”
But Valle was arrested because he was too close to carrying out the “grotesque and disturbing” plots, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman said.