Griselda was born on February 15, 1943, in Cartagena, Colombia. Her mother was Ana Lucia Restrepo and her father was Luis Carlos Blanco. He was a taxi driver and she was a prostitute. Ana Lucia also worked on a ranch, but was fired for having relations with her boss and getting pregnant. Having little money, she moved with her daughter to the slums of Medellin and she never heard of Luis Carlos again. Ana Lucia became an alcoholic. Griselda was three years old.
La Violencia was a time of undeclared civil war that claimed over 200,000 lives in a span of 18 years due to major political conflict in the city of Bogota. It spread to other major cities in Colombia; children that grew up during this time were used to finding bodies in playgrounds.
Raised during a time of civil unrest and war in Colombia, Griselda learned to survive the poverty stricken streets of Medellin, by stealing and pickpocketing.
Legend has it that Griselda and a crew of thieves kidnapped another kid from the neighboring town for ransom. For unknown reasons the family did not pay the money and Griselda was dared to shoot him. She knew she could not show any weakness. She shot him between the eyes. Griselda was 11 years old.
It was a dark, rainy night when Griselda finally decided to leave her mother. A drunken Ana Lucia grabbed Griselda by her hair and began beating her with her fists. Griselda kicked and screamed but she could not get away. She somehow managed to break free from her mother’s grasp, but not without ripping her shirt on the way out. Bloodied and bruised, she ran away half-naked to a few neighboring towns where she followed in her mother’s footsteps, turning to prostitution for survival. Griselda was 14 years old.
Griselda served 13 years in federal custody for a cocaine trafficking case in New York. She was then transferred to Miami. With testimony from Jorge Ayala, it seemed destined that she would receive Florida’s death row. In July 1995, Griselda was indicted for the three murders of the Lorenzo family and two-year-old Johnny Castro by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Charles Crosby was subpoenaed by the Florida County General’s Office to appear and testify against Griselda. To the attorney’s office, this case was solid.
It seemed like the end for Griselda until the case blew up in a scandal. Both Ayala and Crosby were discredited as witnesses. Ayala engaged in a phone sex affair with more than one secretary from the state attorney’s office and Cosby admitted to having sex with another. The case fell apart in 1998 and ended with a plea deal. Griselda was sentenced to 20 years in prison, of which she had already served 13. After serving the remaining seven years, she was released in 2004.
Rios, a family friend and the godfather to Michael Corleone’s second son, had clips of Griselda in Colombia. In the clips, Griselda is speaking with Eddy Moretti, a filmmaker who was the first and only person to interview her since she was released. Moretti asks Griselda how she feels watching a video of her only surviving son and his family.
She responds softly in Spanish, “It makes me very sad. I wish I could hug him and kiss him. The most important part of my life are my sons.”
She was last seen in 2009 sitting on a stone bench in the backyard of her house, overlooking the Medellin valley.
By Lida Ramos
Lida Ramos is an English Lit and Journalism Major at Baruch College. Her interest in the history of her home country Colombia sparked the initial idea to write Black Widow.
Featured Image: Griselda in a Miami Police Mugshot – Source