Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha, a.k.a. "The Goiânia Killer", is a prolific Brazilian serial killer.
Rocha never knew his father and lived alone with his mother and grandparents. He claimed that he was sexually abused by his neighbor at the age of eleven and was a victim of bullying. However, he stated that he felt anger towards women because he was never loved by anyone; this resulted in a constant "rage against society", which he could only suppress by committing murder. At some point in his life, he started committing robberies around the city; after his arrest, Rocha was successfully linked to 90 robberies. He became a security guard at a maternity hospital; his coworkers described him as a timid man who rarely spoke. His childhood friend claimed that, before he got his job at the hospital, Rocha would roam the streets alone, drinking. His girlfriend said that he was a shy individual, but caring towards her. She also mentioned that he had an unusual habit of closing his eyes and covering her eyes with her own hair whenever they had sex. A neighbor told the press after Rocha's arrest that Rocha was not hesitant to show his disturbing behavior to others, which included staring at women.
Murders, Arrest and Incarceration
On November 9, 2011, Rocha met a young homosexual man named Diego Martins Mendes at a bus terminal and lured him to a wooded area with the promise of having sex with him. Instead, Rocha strangled Mendes to death and buried his body there; it was never found. Later, Rocha killed two more men, his coworker and a blue-eyed man he met at a party, both of whom he believed were homosexual. In an attempt to have more ways to kill, Rocha stole a revolver and ammunition from his work, using it to kill the majority of his victims. Rocha proceeded to kill more people over the course of two years, especially vagrants and women, including prostitutes. Because of his differing victimologies and varying M.O., the local authorities never managed to link his crimes until his capture. Sometime in 2013, Rocha sent a letter to the local investigators, claiming he was a serial killer who had killed eleven people, and that any unsolved murders committed by stabbing were his work.
Because of the fact that Rocha used different motorcycle plates during his shootings, investigators initially believed that the murders were being committed by local drug dealers or that the cases were simply unrelated. The public made the assumption of a serial killer being active on the region in May 2014, but the police only saw this as a rumor. Minutes after Rocha murdered his last victim, Ana Gomes, police noticed that Rocha's motorcycle plate was stolen. Rocha was tracked down and arrested on October 14, 2014. After being interrogated, he confessed to the murders. In his house, police found his revolver, which matched the ballistics of bullets found at the scenes of the shootings. Following his arrest, the police department told the people of Goiânia that they had arrested Rocha and had even created a task force with the intention of closing his case, consisting of sixteen commissioners, 30 investigators, and sixteen scriveners, despite their aforementioned earlier disbelief in his existence. Two days after his arrest, Rocha attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists with a broken lamp bulb, but failed. Rocha was sentenced to at least 630 years in prison.
During his initial serial killings, Rocha only targeted men he thought were homosexual, either strangling or stabbing them to death. After killing three victims, Rocha drastically changed his M.O. to shooting vagrants in the head as they were sleeping, using a 38.-caliber revolver he had stolen from his work. Occasionally, he killed people who were not homeless. In his final and most infamous kill cycle, Rocha would approach women on the streets, especially beautiful brunette women, and fatally shoot them with the same revolver, mostly in the chest region, but once again occasionally killing people who did not fit the profile. In order to conceal his identity, Rocha would wear a black coat and helmet, exactly like the one he would wear during his robberies. He constantly changed his motorcycle's license plate in an effort to not be identified by witnesses or security cameras.
Doctor Katia Mecler, hailing from the federal university of Rio de Janeiro, diagnosed Rocha as a misogynistic psychopath suffering from antisocial personality disorder with narcissistic and histrionic traits. She also added that Rocha only attempted to commit suicide because of his own narcissism and frustration. Forensic psychologist Leonard Faria mentioned during an interview that he had two theories on why Rocha had a varying victimology: to not create a stable victim profile or to fuel his sadism, and he did not see his murders as destroying the lives of others, but as a way to destroy his own feelings against the victims he targeted. Faria also profiled him as a mixed killer lacking any psychotic symptoms, including schizophrenia.
On Criminal Minds
Though he wasn't mentioned or referenced in Criminal Minds, Rocha is similar to serial killer Jason Clark Battle. Both were involved in law enforcement and chose their victims at random before shooting them with .38 revolvers in drive-bys.
- Wikipedia's article about Rocha
- Fusion's article about Rocha
- The Daily Mirror's article about Rocha
- List of Tiago's victims (PORTUGUESE ONLY)
- Second list of Tiago's victims (PORTUGUESE ONLY)
- Dr. Katia Mecler's diagnosis on Rocha (PORTUGUESE ONLY)
- Interview with Leonardo Faria (PORTUGUESE ONLY)
- Câmera Record: O Matador de Goiânia (2017)