The Little-Known Story Of Manuela Escobar, Drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar’s Reclusive Daughter

Published February 26, 2023
Updated March 13, 2024

Born in May 1984 to Pablo Escobar and Maria Victoria Henao, Manuela Escobar has spent her life trying to escape her father's crimes.

Before Manuela Escobar could walk, she was taught to run. And as Pablo Escobar’s daughter, she certainly had a lot of running to do. While being the child of a notorious Colombian drug lord came with its perks — like getting all the presents you could possibly want for your birthday — this type of upbringing also came with several serious drawbacks.

Manuela Escobar

YouTubePablo Escobar holding his daughter Manuela Escobar in an undated family photo.

Just nine years old when Pablo Escobar was gunned down in 1993, Manuela Escobar is the only member of her family who has never been accused of a single crime. But despite her clean record, she has never been able to escape the shadow of her father’s atrocities. She vanished from the spotlight at some point in the ’90s — and she hasn’t been seen in years.

The Early Life Of Manuela Escobar

Manuela Escobar was born on May 25, 1984, around the same time that Pablo Escobar was becoming one of the most powerful drug kingpins in the world. Manuela had one older sibling, Juan Pablo, who was born in 1977.

Since Manuela was just a child when her father became the “King of Cocaine,” she probably didn’t know exactly what he did for a living. But she did know that her father would do anything to put a smile on her face.

Despite Pablo Escobar’s violent reputation, he had a soft spot for his daughter. And at the height of his power, his Medellín Cartel brought in as much as $70 million per day. This meant that he was willing — and able — to buy just about anything that his little “princess” wanted.

One year, Manuela Escobar asked her father for a unicorn. So instead of telling her that unicorns weren’t real, the drug lord allegedly ordered his employees to buy a white horse and staple a “horn” onto its head and “wings” onto its back. The animal later died of a gruesome infection.

Pablo Escobar's Daughter

YouTubeManuela Escobar was the ultimate “daddy’s girl” while Pablo Escobar was alive.

And when Pablo Escobar’s life of crime began to catch up with him, he did whatever it took to keep his daughter safe. When the family was hiding out from the authorities in the mountains of Colombia in the early ’90s, he allegedly burned $2 million in cash — just to keep his daughter warm.

Before long, the drug lord realized that his family would no longer be safe staying with him. So he instructed his wife, Maria Victoria Henao, to take their children to a safe house under government protection. And in December 1993, Pablo Escobar died just as violently as he lived.

The Aftermath Of Pablo Escobar’s Death

Death Of Pablo Escobar

Wikimedia CommonsOn December 2, 1993, Pablo Escobar was killed in Medellín after being gunned down by Colombian police.

Everyone knows the story of Pablo Escobar’s dramatic demise: his attempt at escape across the barrio rooftops, the ensuing gunfight between Escobar and Colombian authorities, and the drug lord’s bloody death.

However, Pablo Escobar’s death is not where his family’s story ended. In a way, it’s where their story started — or at least where a new chapter began.

Shortly after the kingpin’s demise, Manuela Escobar, her brother Juan Pablo, and her mother Maria Victoria Henao all quickly fled Colombia, where they knew they would no longer be welcome.

But no country granted them asylum after Escobar’s crimes — even when they petitioned the Vatican for help — and the Cali Cartel was demanding millions of dollars in reparations for Escobar’s crimes against them.

The family tried to seek refuge in Mozambique, South Africa, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, before finally settling in Argentina in late 1994 — under assumed names. And for a few years, it seemed like their past was behind them.

But in 1999, Maria Victoria Henao (who often went by “Victoria Henao Vallejos”) and Juan Pablo (who often went by “Sebastián Marroquín”) were suddenly arrested. Pablo Escobar’s wife and son had been accused of falsifying a public document, money laundering, and illicit association.

After being imprisoned for several months, they were released due to insufficient evidence. However, many people had questions about their arrest — especially since Pablo Escobar’s daughter had apparently never spent a day in jail. So where in the world was Manuela?

What Happened To Manuela Escobar?

Pablo Escobar And Manuela Escobar

YouTubeMuch about Manuela Escobar’s life today remains unknown, as she’s essentially become a recluse.

Manuela Escobar is, to date, the only member of the Escobar family who has never been accused of or implicated in any crimes. Pablo Escobar’s daughter was just nine years old when her father was killed. And for the most part, she has maintained an exceptionally low profile since then.

But when her mother and brother were arrested in 1999, word broke that she had not been. For the first time in years, there was news about Pablo Escobar’s daughter — though details were limited. An article published in El Tiempo, a Colombian news website, revealed that Manuela Escobar was living under the name “Juana Manuela Marroquín Santos” in Buenos Aires.

At the time, she was staying in a residential building known as Jaramillo. And while rumors quickly spread that she — and her brother — were sitting on millions of dollars in stolen drug money, Manuela Escobar’s life was far from lavish. On the contrary, she was struggling to even be called middle-class.

It was a far cry from having literal cash to burn in her childhood. But in many ways, Juana Marroquín’s life was much better than Manuela Escobar’s. While Manuela had tutors, instability, and little time to bond with her peers, Juana had a real school, a stable home, and some friends her own age.

Escobar Family Photo

InstagramSince Manuela Escobar has been reclusive for decades, few confirmed photos of her are available to the public.

But unfortunately, everything changed after her mother and brother got arrested. Though her family members were released, she soon began to live in fear of someone coming after her relatives and seeking revenge on them because of her father’s crimes. She also sank into a deep depression.

Still, her mother and brother slowly re-entered the spotlight. By now, both of them have written books and spoken freely to the press about their personal lives with Pablo Escobar. But Manuela has refused to participate at all. To this day, she remains in hiding — despite never committing a crime.

Today, Manuela Escobar is one of the most famous recluses in the world. But according to her loved ones, there is a tragic reason why she shuns publicity. Ever since 1999, Pablo Escobar’s daughter has had several depressive episodes. And her mental health has apparently worsened.

According to her brother Juan Pablo (who still goes by the name Sebastián Marroquín), Manuela has attempted to take her own life. And now, she reportedly lives with her brother and his wife for her own health and safety.

Even worse, her brother has claimed that she still lives in constant fear of being discovered. She apparently believes that anyone who knows her identity will associate her with the crimes of her father and that someday, her loved ones will end up paying for his atrocities with their own lives.

Manuela Escobar is now in her late 30s, and it remains to be seen whether she will ever break her silence — or even show her face in public again.

After reading about Manuela Escobar, Pablo Escobar’s reclusive daughter, learn about Sebastián Marroquín, Pablo Escobar’s son. Then, check out some of the most ridiculous facts about Pablo Escobar.

Katie Serena
A former staff writer at All That's Interesting, Katie Serena has also published work in Salon.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Serena, Katie. "The Little-Known Story Of Manuela Escobar, Drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar’s Reclusive Daughter.", February 26, 2023, Accessed April 18, 2024.