Mexico City

La Mataviejitas

The Old Lady Killer of Mexico City

by Stranger’s Guide

For a period of 8 years, a series of murders, between 42 and 48, occurred in Mexico City, solely targeting women over the age of 60 who lived alone. The police feared it was “media sensationalism” tying the murders together, despite the consistent causes of death, lack of forced entry and robberies that went along with the murders.

When they finally acknowledged the pattern, the police believed the suspect to be a man in women’s clothing, and launched a massive round-up and questioned cross-dressing prostitutes in the city.

Juana Barraza was discovered as the murderer in 2006, shocking the Mexican community. It is said that Barraza’s alcoholic mother traded her to a man for beer, and that Barraza was targeting elderly women because of her lingering resentment for how horribly her mother treated her.

Barraza was a former wrestler, known as the Silent Lady.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives had a particular interest in what was taken from some of the crime scenes, as the most frequently missing items were not especially valuable. Three of the victims owned a print of an 18th century painting, “Boy in Red Waistcoat” by French artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze—a clue that was ultimately a red herring. Though the significance of the items to Barraza has never been revealed, the fact that many were of some religious meaning—crucifixes, bibles, rings and images of saints—led police to theorize that they were trophies. Upon Barraza’s capture, many of these items were found in her residence, along with various newspaper clippings detailing the killings.

She was sentenced to 759 years in prison (not even close to the longest sentence ever given). Barraza was a former wrestler, known as the Silent Lady.

CONTRIBUTOR

See more Postcards from around the world

RELATED CONTENT

DID YOU KNOW?

Europe

Björn to be Wild

According to the Moscow Goes Out website (which describes itself as a “culinary concierge that guides you to the best restaurants in Moscow”) Swedish restaurant Björn is a trendy gourmet eatery on Pyatnitskaya ul that brings a taste of Scandinavia to the Russian capital. It serves a menu dedicated to wild-sourced ingredients including salmon, herring and venison, and is said to be a hidden gem. The website Rad Russia said the designer of its minimalistic interior “obviously drew inspiration from the grayish winter sky above the storming seas.” Swedish influence in Russia dates back to the 8th century, when Scandinavian people traded along the rivers between the Black and Baltic Seas.

Relations between the two countries today are strained due to incursions by Russian warplanes in Swedish airspace, and a rift over the poisoning of Russian dissidents in the UK.