In 2012, New York City police officer Gilberto Valle faced charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. This came after Valle's wife at the time discovered his documents that detailed plans to abduct, murder, cook, and eat the women in his life. After arresting Valle, the police examined his online habits and found that he frequented dark websites to chat about his plans with other cannibalism fetishists. Valle lost his job and went to prison for almost two years. But here's the rub: He never killed or ate anyone.
The Cannibal Cop case exists in a moral gray area. The jury that convicted Valle believed he was going to carry out the plans he had discussed online, but the judge who overturned the sentence thought it was simply a dark fantasy.
The most incriminating piece of evidence against Valle was a digital document. It contained a list of materials needed to kidnap and cook his victims, including chloroform, a gag, and a tarp. Aside from the list, Valle had a spreadsheet of prospective female victims, which comprised his friends, ex-girlfriends, and wife.
Valle took advantage of his access to the NYPD database to view their information, then shared the data with members of his online fetish community. Former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara noted that Valle went a step further and researched methods online about how to drug women.
Before being immortalized as the Cannibal Cop, Valle was an NYPD officer who had served on the force for six years. Prior to joining, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in psychology.
A student who attended college with Valle claimed the former officer had played up "the stereotype of an angry New Yorker" and "came off [as] kind of hostile."
After his computer broke, Valle used his wife's to browse dark fetish websites. She noticed Valle was behaving strangely and assumed he was cheating on her, so she installed spyware on her computer. What she found was much worse than her initial suspicion.
Valle said in his autobiography Raw Deal: The Untold Story of NYPD's "Cannibal Cop": "This, of course, led to her finding the kind of [adult content] I was really looking at, and eventually all the chats that went along with the secret fantasy life I was living."
Along with the fetish material, she discovered his fantasies of kidnapping, killing, and eating her with his online friends. Valle wrote that his wife was furious, but he could only offer an apology.
After being charged with misuse of a police database and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder, Valle was open with FBI investigators about his sexual fetishes and the discussions he had with other members of online forums.
While Agent Anthony Foto did not record or videotape the four-hour interrogation, he told a courtroom that Valle "claimed that he would not have gone through" with his plan. Foto continued, saying that Valle was "very calm" after his arrest, having gone into detail with the agent about his childhood. Valle also reportedly described specific fantasies and how he got into bondage and cannibalism at a young age.