Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
I Survived a Murderer
Josefina Rivera
Josefina Rivera
Gary Heidnik's crimes were grandiose a harem of sex slaves chained to pipes in his basement, ready at all times for his psychotic sexuality and murderous sadism. But before he could have his fantasy dungeon full of pleading victims, this collector of sexual captives had to start with just one. Josefina Rivera, a Philadelphia prostitute, accepted a ride from Heidnik expecting to turn a normal trick. What she got instead was a four-month nightmare in which her drive for self-preservation turned her into a willing accomplice of Heidnik's gruesome crimes.

Half naked, chained to a pipe when not imprisoned in a hole in Heidnik's basement floor, Rivera watched helplessly as Heidnik kept adding to his stable of slaves. He raped them at will, deafened them with a screwdriver, arbitrarily beat them, and offered preferential treatment if his "lovers" would snitch on each other. After months of this torment, Josefina helped electrocute and dispose of one of her fellow-captives. Following this show of support, Heidnik elevated Josefina's status, allowing her to bathe and sleep in his bed with him and accompany him when he left the house.

On one of these outings Heidnik captured a "replacement" for the recently killed and cannibalized captive. Josefina convinced Heidnik to let the girl return home briefly, whereupon she called the cops, bringing this grim tale to a close. Heidnik was executed in 1999. Josefina still lives in the Philadelphia area.
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