The Sad story of Pablo Escobar's daughter, Manuela Escobar?

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Though notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar died in a shootout with police in 1993, his legacy as the wealthiest criminal in history continues to captivate people around the world to this day. When he died, Escobar left behind an estimated $30 billion, a vast drug smuggling network, a sprawling mansion complete with pet hippos — and two children.

In 1976, the 26-year-old kingpin eloped with 15-year-old María Victoria Henao. The couple had two children together, Juan Pablo and Manuela, who spent their childhoods ensconced in unimaginable wealth.

However, when Pablo Escobar died, everything changed for his wife and kids, especially Manuela. Here’s how Manuela Escobar went from pampered rich girl to a life on the run — and where she is now.

A Little Princess

Manuela Escobar was born on May 25, 1984, the second of Pablo’s two children. Pablo adored Manuela, and thanks to his incredible wealth he was able to spend lavishly to provide for her. The family lived on an extravagant estate known as Hacienda Nápoles that included a zoo and a private airport.

Young Manuela didn’t go to school like an ordinary child because Escobar feared that his enemies might attack her. His fears weren’t unfounded. When Manuela was three years old, an explosion from a bomb intended to kill Pablo left her deaf in one ear.

Though Manuela’s childhood was dangerous, Pablo made sure to indulge her every whim. When she wanted a unicorn for her birthday, he bought her a horse, stapling a horn to its head and wings to its back. When he was imprisoned in a private facility of his own making (thanks to a deal with Colombia’s president), he had his men build Manuela an opulent playhouse on the grounds so that she could be near him. And when she complained that other prisoners’ daughters were using it too, he put up a sign that said “Private Property” and installed a padlock to which only she had the key.

According to another story, when she asked him how much a billion dollars was worth, he replied, “the value of your eyes.” It’s also rumored that while the family was hiding from authorities in the Medellin mountains, Pablo Escobar burned stacks of cash worth about $2 million to keep Manuela warm.

Life After Pablo Escobar’s Death

Manuela was just nine years old when her father died, and from that point on her life would never be the same. She fled Colombia with her mother Maria Victoria Henao and brother, but due to her father’s crimes, no country would grant them asylum. Even worse, the rival Cali Cartel wanted them to pay millions of dollars in reparations for Pablo Escobar’s crimes against them.

By 1995, Manuela and her family made it to Mozambique, where they lived briefly, followed by Brazil then Argentina. In Argentina, the family hid by using false names. In 1999, María and Juan Pablo were arrested for falsifying public documents and money laundering committed as part of their life in hiding. But where was Manuela Escobar?

Manuela Escobar Today

Manuela remains the only member of the Escobar family to never be implicated in or arrested for any crimes. She has also refrained from speaking to the public about her father or her family, unlike her mother and brother who have both given extensive interviews and written books.

When her mother and brother were arrested in 1999, it was reported that Manuela was living alone in an apartment in Buenos Aires, using the name Juana Manuela Marroquin (while she was also known as Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos). Without a trace of her former wealth, she struggled to make ends meet and was forced into homeschooling after the attention following her family’s arrest.

Though she was able to continue her education and study public relations, Manuela remains reclusive to this day out of fear that her father’s enemies may resurface and harm her or someone she loves. Reports claim that she struggles with depression and has even attempted to take her own life.

According to a 2015 interview with her brother, Manuela now lives with him and his wife, and they have supported her through her struggles with mental illness. That same year, Colombian media circulated a picture purportedly of her (above), but other than that, she has kept her appearance private and has no known social media accounts.

In interviews, Juan Pablo (now known as Sebastián Marroquín) has said that Manuela lives in fear of being discovered and paying for their father’s crimes with her life.




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