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Here’s The Insane Story of Mexico’s Infamous Female Serial Killer

If you haven’t heard the story of Juana Barraza you’re in for a shock. The former Mexican professional wrestler and serial killer has acquired many names. Mataviejitas and  Dama del Silencio gained notoriety in 2006 when it was discovered that he had killed between 42 to 48 elderly women and received a sentence of 759 years in prison.

Here’s a look at her chilling story.

Juana Barraza was born in a rural area north of Mexico City

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She was born in Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, Mexico to Justa Samperio, a woman who was an alcoholic.

Three months after her birth, she left her husband to begin a relationship with Refugio Samperio.

Grupo de Peritos Profesionales / YouTube

Samperio was a married man who was also her mother’s Justa’s stepfather and would become Barraza’s own father figure.

Barraza never learned to read as a child and had a relationship with her mother that was tumultuous. When she was twelve years old, Barraza’s mother traded to a man named José Lugo for three beers. For four years, Lugo abused Barraza and impregnated twice before she reached 18 years old. Both pregnancies ended in miscarriages. After her mother died of cirrhosis of the liver, Barraza left for Mexico City where she had several failed marriages and four children. Her first born was a son who died in a gang shooting when he was 24 years old.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Barraza  toured central Mexico as a masked wrestler named La Dama del Silencio or “The Lady of Silence.”

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She chose the alias in reference to her own shy and quiet personality.

In 1995, after having her fourth child and short of cash she started to steal from shops and eventually began burglarizing homes. A year later she and a friend, Araceli Tapia Martínez, plotted a plan to steal from the elderly. The two dressed up as nurses to gain access to elderly people living alone and robbing them once they were inside.

Plot twist: Tapia was also in a relationship with a corrupt Federal Police officer, Moisés Flores Domínguez.

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The two concocted a  plan to corrupt Barraza and Flores soon met Barraza after a burglary that she had committed alone and demanded 12,000 pesos in return for not arresting her.

In 2000, after Barraza retired from wrestling she earned only 300 to 500 pesos for each of her fights and she soon became again desperate.

Soon enough, murders of elderly people in Mexico City began to skyrocket.

The Eclectic Collection / Youtube

The incidents fuelled press speculation of the existence of a serial killer which they called El Mataviejitas.

Mexico City police, however, denied any connection between the crimes, and various people were imprisoned for the murders.

Meanwhile, in the background, María de la Luz González Anaya became Barraza’s first victim on November 25, 2002.

The Eclectic Collection / Youtube

After she entered her apartment, González made comments that Barraza considered derogatory; Barraza became enraged and beat González before fatally strangling her with her bare hands. She didn’t kill again for three months.

Soon after the crimes increased.

The Eclectic Collection / Youtube

By November 5, 2003, police decided that a serial killer was involved and that it was a tall person who pretends to be a city council nurse or social worker.

The police were reluctant to make their determination public.

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At the time  Mexico’s federal government (controlled by PAN) and the capital’s city council (controlled by PRD), used Mataviejitas as a weapon in their fight for the 2006 Mexican presidential election.

In December of that year, the police released a wanted poster with two eyewitness sketches of the Mataviejitas.

The Eclectic Collection / Youtube

While one of the images featured someone who looked more masculine, the other was more feminine. The sketches were marked as persons of interest only and none of the released images mentioned clothing.

It took a year for the police to admit that they had a serial killer on their hands. 

In 2005, Barraza started up a relationship with a taxi driver named José Francisco Torres Herrera.

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Torres went by the name El Frijol and he quickly became her accomplice. Meanwhile, attacks in the areas increased in number and violence. The murders also switched from daytime to nighttime.

On September 28, 2005, the murder of 82-year-old Carmen Camila González Miguel pushed the police to start a special operation under the name Operación Parques y Jardines.

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Gonzalez was an upper-class woman and the mother of prominent Mexican criminologist Luis Rafael Moreno González. Police increased officer patrols in the area where the killer was active. 

Police also announced that they were looking for a homosexual man or a trans woman.

Grupo de Peritos Profesionales / YouTube

Sadly they arrested 49 trans prostitutes in their efforts. All of them were released when their prints failed to match the ones collected from the crime scenes.

October the murders started to slow down and investigators considered the possibility that the killer had committed suicide.

Grupo de Peritos Profesionales / YouTube

On January 25, 2006, however, Barraza was seen by a tenant as she left the murder scene ofAna María de los Reyes Alfaro a landlady. A police patrol that had passed her picked her up and arrested them.  Barraza was illiterate, but a search of her home found a trophy room filled with newspaper clippings of the murders. It also had objects taken from the victims. She had also built an altar to Jesús Malverde and Santa Muerte, two folk saints that  Mexican criminals often praise.

Police attempt to make it seem as if they’d known it was Barraza for some time.

Grupo de Peritos Profesionales / YouTube

They had her pose next t eyewitness sketches of the Mataviejitas to make the public believe that police had been in the right trail to finding Barraza.

In truth, Barraza had been at a police station and was even interviewed on a TV program about wrestling just a week before her arrest.

In 2008, Barraza was tried for thirty murders and was found guilty of sixteen of them.

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The convictions came with murders that she could be pinned to because of fingerprint evidence.

Modus Operandi

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Barraza approached her victims by knocking on their doors and on the street. She pretended to be a city council nurse or a social worker.

Initially, she disguised herself by wearing white clothes. Later, she bought a genuine nurse’s uniform.

LHistory16 / Twitter

Depending on how wealthy her victims were she would attempt to gain their trust and enter their home by offering medical assistance and massages. When her victims were distracted, she would strangle them directly or beat them. Each time she used moves learned in her wrestling career.

Barraza usually strangled her victims manually.

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Sometimes she would use a ligature taken from the victim’s own home and then leave that at the crime scene.

Baraza will serve her life in prison for her crimes.

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Barraza was given a sentence of 759 years in prison.

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