Maria Victoria Henao is popularly known as the wife of the late Colombian drug lord and “The King of Cocaine”, Pablo Escobar. She had remained married to him throughout his reign of terror and period of dominance until he died on 2 December 1993 at 44.
As Escobar’s wife, Maria was alleged to have inherited some of his wealth, including the popularly rumoured hidden wads of cash that were never found. The stories surrounding her and her late husband run quite wild with many of them being exaggerated tales. But the facts are also as mind-boggling as the made-up tales as well.
Here we will provide details about where Pablo Escobar’s wife is now, her net worth, children and personal life. We will also look into the late drug lord’s life that relates to her and his family. We start with a summary of the answers to questions people ask the most.
Top ten most important facts about Maria Victoria Henao
- She was born in 1961 in Palmira Valle Del Cauca, Colombia, and will be 60 years old on her birthday in 2021.
- Her father’s name was Carlos Henao Vallejo and her mother was Leonor Zuleta, also, she had two known siblings, Carlos Mario Henao Vallejo (brother) and Pastora Henao Bayen (sister).
- Her brother Carlos worked for her husband and was killed when Los Pepes, a vigilante group composed of enemies of Pablo Escobar, raided one of the Colombian drug lord’s warehouses.
- Pablo Escobar met his wife Maria Victoria Henao when she was 13 and they eloped to get married when she turned 15 because her parents opposed their union.
- She had her first child, a son named Juan Pablo, when she was 16, in 1977. Pablo has now changed his name to Sebastián Marroquín. Seven years later, they welcomed a daughter named Manuela Escobar.
- The naive and young Henao believed that the late drug lord Pablo Escobar was a real estate dealer running a legitimate business.
- After Pablo Escobar died, María Victoria Henao and Escobar’s two legitimate children already fled to Mozambique in fear of attacks on their lives. Then, after a brief stay in the African country, they returned to South America as tourists in Argentina.
- She changed her name to María Isabel Santos Caballero and lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her son, daughter and grandchildren.
- An Argentine federal judge Nestor Barral accused her and her son, Sebastián Marroquín Santos, of money laundering with two Colombian drug traffickers in 2018, the judgment included an order to seize assets for about $1m each.
- Pablo Escobar’s wife is alleged to be worth several million dollars and she is the author of the book, “Mrs Escobar: My Life with Pablo.”
Maria Victoria Henao early life and education
Maria Victoria Henao was born in 1961 in Palmira Valle Del Cauca, Colombia. Her parents name was Carlos Henao Vallejo and Leonor Zuleta, and she had two known siblings, Carlos Mario Henao Vallejo (brother) and Pastora Henao Bayen (sister).
There is no information about her education and the reason for this is not far-fetched as she was already married at 15 and gave birth to their first child the next year. Thus, she never got the chance to formally finish high school.
Carlos Mario Henao Vallejo
Simply known as Carlos Henao, he was Maria’s older brother and he worked as a drug trafficker for Pablo Escobar. According to a fandom wiki page, Henao lived in the United States and helped to run drug shipments from Colombia and coordinate the large network of clients in America.
During the collapse of Escobar’s empire, the drug lord brought back his brother-in-law to stay with his family and keep his wife happy. Carlos was killed when Los Pepes, a vigilante group composed of enemies of Pablo Escobar, raided one of the Colombian drug lord’s warehouses.
Pastora Henao Bayen
Not much is available publicly about Pastora Henao, Maria’s sister. However, a 1988 New York Times article mentioned that she was part of the 25 people arrested when the army tried to capture Pablo Escobar on his estate, they also arrested his wife. The drug trafficker escaped in the shootout between his bodyguards and the soldiers.
The ending part of the article reads:
“The army said communications equipment, weapons, including submachine guns and ammunition, and 13 vehicles were seized at the estate, 180 miles northwest of the capital, Bogota.”
Maria Victoria Henao relationship with Pablo Escobar
Pablo Escobar met Maria when she was 13 and he was 24 years old. Their meeting was facilitated by her brother Carlos, who was a close friend and ally of the drug dealer. After their first meeting, Escobar began courting the teenager without the permission of her family.
At the time, he was just starting out as a drug runner for Alvaro Prieto, a contraband smuggler who operated around Medellín, Colombia. When Maria’s parents discovered the affair, they opposed it because Escobar was seen as socially inferior to their class.
Thus, when she turned 15, they eloped and got married. She had her first child, a son named Juan Pablo, when she was 16, in 1977. Juan has now changed his name to Sebastián Marroquín. Seven years later, they welcomed a daughter named Manuela Escobar.
Sebastián Marroquín or Juan Pablo (son)
Born as Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, he changed his name to Sebastián Marroquín due to the stigma accompanying his father’s life as a criminal. He is a professional architect and has stated many times that he does not want to be linked with the Escobar name, the Medellín Cartel and the illegal drug trade in Colombia.
Despite this claim, he and his family have made money on the rights to Pablo Escobar’s name and likeness (such as selling clothing bearing his likeness for extra income). He has met his father’s many victims and appeared in a documentary “Sins of My Father” in 2009 about the drug lord. Here is a trailer of the documentary:
Additionally, he wrote the book “Pablo Escobar: My Father (2014)” under his birth name. Marroquín has two children, Juan Emilio Escobar and Santiago Montoya.
Manuela Escobar (daughter)
Unlike her brother, Manuela did not change her birth name. When a money laundering case exposed their real identity in 1999, she stopped going to school and her mother had to homeschool her for several years. She is popularly known as a Businesswoman and Homemaker. Manuela Escobar does not have any children that we know of.
Other Pablo Escobar affairs
There are divided camps when it comes to perspectives of viewing María Victoria Henao. Some say that she was a gullible girl who didn’t know that her ‘prince charming’ was a criminal, meanwhile, others argued that she knew what she was getting into and that years later when she was older, she was already addicted to the lavish lifestyle and could not simply leave.
One of the famous people from the latter camp is Virginia Vallejo, a journalist. According to her, Maria knew of Escobar’s crimes and his several affairs which included her as well. In her memoir “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar,” Vallejo detailed her romantic relationship with the drug kingpin and his links with several presidents, Caribbean dictators, and high-profile politicians. The 2017 film “Loving Pablo” was based on this book.
Another publicised affair that Pablo Escobar was involved in while married to Maria includes Griselda Blanco. She is nicknamed La Dama de la Mafia (The Lady of the Mafia), The Godmother, and The Black Widow. Blanco was a Colombian drug lord of the Medellín Cartel and a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine drug trade and underworld during the 1980s through the early 2000s.
Who can blame Maria for not leaving despite all these affairs and a life of crime? She had cut all ties with her family to marry Escobar and her brother and sister were connected to him.
In her book “Mrs Escobar: My Life with Pablo”, Maria says that until Escobar’s arrest in 1977, she believed that he was a real estate dealer.
“From the very start, he set out — and managed — to lead a sort of double life there: one with his family and another with his buddies and his mistresses of the moment. Of course, in addition, he also had his business, which he always kept away from me.”
Her view of him changed after she found out that he arranged the assassination of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla.
María Victoria Henao after Pablo Escobar’s death
How did Pablo Escobar die?
On 2 December 1993, a National Police of Colombia Search Bloc of eight officers tracked Pablo Escobar to his hideout in Los Olivos, Medellín, Colombia. They had used his cell phone transmissions after a 16-month nationwide search.
The group raided his house by blowing the door open and a firefight ensued. Escobar and his bodyguard, Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo, were easily overpowered and they fled through a roof exit. They both died of gunshot wounds.
Escobar had gun wounds in his leg, torso and head (which killed him). To date, it has not been proven who killed him and how. There are speculations that he was captured first and then summarily executed. His two brothers believed that he killed himself because he had on several occasions told them that he would put a bullet through his own ear when cornered without an escape.
The eight members of the Search Bloc posed for a photo with Pablo Escobar body in celebration. After which, his family was allowed to bury him in the family tomb in Monte Sacro Cemetry, Itagüí.
What happened to his family after his death?
After Pablo Escobar died, the Medellín Cartel broke up and a rival gang, Cali Cartel, took over the cocaine market. María Victoria Henao and Escobar’s two legitimate children already fled to Mozambique in fear of attacks on their lives. Then, after a brief stay in the African country, they returned to South America as tourists in Argentina.
Like her son, Maria also changed her name to María Isabel Santos Caballero. This is in a bid to avoid the negative publicity that the Escobar name will bring.
How much is Pablo Escobar’s wife worth?
Pablo Escobar’s wife Maria, is allegedly worth millions of dollars. Their daughter is said to have a net worth of more than $300,000. Their son, Juan Pablo has an estimated net worth of $1 million to $5 million.
Recently, a nephew of Pablo Escobar found $25 million in cash hidden in the wall of one of his apartments in Medellin. Many believe that there is still some of the late drug lord’s money hidden and waiting to be found.
Before his death, Pablo Escobar had an estimated net worth of $30 billion (which is equivalent to $64 million in 2021).
Does his wife know where he hid them all? She has never claimed to have more knowledge about the criminal’s mind than is already publicly available. Yet, it is understandable that many treat her like she knows more than she lets on.
Hers is a list of people that survived Pablo Escobar after his death:
- Abel De Jesús Escobar Echeverri (father)
- Hermilda de los Dolores Gaviria Berrío (mother)
- Luz Maria Escobar (sister)
- Roberto Escobar (brother)
- Fernando Sánchez Arellano (brother)
- María Victoria Henao or Victoria Eugenia Henao (wife)
- Sebastián Marroquín or Juan Pablo (son)
- Manuela Escobar (daughter)
In many of the stories that followed the demise of Pablo Escobar and the dismantling of his drug cartel, Maria Victoria Henao has managed to stay just out of sight. Of course, there are many times that she has been mentioned and connected to him, yet, it has been to a small degree.
Currently living as María Isabel Santos Caballero in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her son, daughter and grandchildren. Apart from the 1999 money laundering case, an Argentine federal judge Nestor Barral accused her and her son, Sebastián Marroquín Santos, of money laundering with two Colombian drug traffickers in 2018. The judgment included an order to seize assets worth about $1m each.
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