Mexico City

La Mataviejitas

The Old Lady Killer of Mexico City

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.


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