Brazilian police were trying Friday to find victims of alleged serial killer Sailson Jose das Gracas, who confessed to murdering more than 40 people, among them 37 women, three men and a 2-year-old. Gracas was arrested Wednesday after stabbing a woman to death in Rio de Janeiro suburb Nova Iguacu. He told officers he killed for fun and occasionally for hire.
"He either stabbed his victims or strangled them," a police officer told the Associated Press anonymously. "We are now [trying to] determine if he is the serial killer he says [he is] or if he is making it all up."
Police have identified seven of the victims so far. Gracas, 26, reportedly said all the murders had taken place since 2005 and were mostly white women. He did not show remorse, inspector Pedro Henrique Medina told the G1 news portal, and was a psychopath.
"After killing someone he would calm down and spend the next two or three months without hurting anyone," Medina said. "Afterward, he would go out hunting for a new victim."
Medina said police had investigated Gracas four times, including for illegally having a gun in February 2010 and for theft in January 2007, August 2007 and February 2014. Gracas said he started thinking about killing when he was shoplifting as a teenager. He allegedly murdered his first person at age 17 and described his mind-set to police.
"Will I get arrested?" Gracas said, according to a loose translation. "Things flowed well. There was coming in mind to do more and more. And I liked it."
Gracas said he'd monitor his victims for months ahead of their murders, wait for a chance and then break into their houses, BBC News reported. People also commissioned him as a hitman. Officers in Brazil arrested Cleoza Balbina and her ex-husband, Joseph Messiah, for ordering the deaths of three people, among them 49-year-old Francisco Carlos Chagas, who had stolen Cleoza's cell phone, G1 reported.
"Sometimes I thought I was a little crazy, but other times thought it was normal," Gracas said. "I killed because I liked. I have no regrets and, when out [of jail], I will probably kill again."