The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders: who is Mexican serial killer Juana Barraza, where is she now?

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Netflix true crime documentary The Lady of Silence follows a professional wrestler’s seven year murder spree in Mexico City

Juana Barraza, known as Mexico’s first female serial killer, took the lives of at least 16 elderly women in the early 2000s, and managed to evade capture for years as police were looking for a male suspect.

Barraza’s story is the focus of a new Netflix true crime documentary - it explores Barraza's traumatic childhood, her terrible crimes, and the investigation into the killings that dragged on for years as more vulnerable victims were murdered. 

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This is everything you need to know about the wrestler turned serial killer Juana Barraza, her horrific crime spree, and what happened to her:

Who is Juana Barraza?

Juana Barraza, 65, is a Mexican serial killer and former professional wrestler who competed under the ring name La Dama del Silencio (The Lady of Silence). 

Barraza had an extremely traumatic childhood - she is believed to have been born to an alcoholic mother who exchanged her with a man for three beers. The man reportedly raped her repeatedly and she became pregnant with his son. 

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas MurdersThe Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders
The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders | Netflix

It is unknown exactly when Barraza killed her first victim - it has been estimated to have taken place some time from the late 1990s to 2002. She is believed to have gained the trust of her victims, who were targeted because they were older and lived alone, often posing as a doctor or social worker, and then bludgeoning or strangling them to death.

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When the hunt for the killer was in process, police had expected the perpetrator to be a man - when witnesses reported seeing a masculine woman, they began to look for a trans person.

Following her arrest she became known as La Mataviejitas - The Little Old Lady Killer - because her victims were all women over the age of 60. Barraza’s motive for the string of brutal murders has been a subject of debate - she told police that she killed one victim out of resentment of how her own mother had treated her.

Juana Barraza evaded police for years as they were searching for a male suspectJuana Barraza evaded police for years as they were searching for a male suspect
Juana Barraza evaded police for years as they were searching for a male suspect | AFP via Getty Images

How many people did Juana Barraza kill?

Barraza was charged with 30 counts of murder and found guilty of 16. When she was arrested the case was closed despite more than 30 cases remaining unresolved.

The woman believed to be Barraza’s first victim, María de la Luz González Anaya, 64, was beaten and strangled to death at her home. Her second victim, Guillermina León, 84, was killed four months later.

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Various estimates as to the total number of victims that Barraza killed range from 42 to 48. At her trial, the prosecution alleged that she may have killed 40 people. Barraza only admitted to one murder, that of her last victim, Ana María de los Reyes Alfaro, who she strangled with a stethoscope.

Where is Juana Barraza now?

She was sentenced to more than 700 years in prison, though her sentences are expected to be served concurrently. The maximum sentence that can be imposed under Mexican law is 60 years. As Barraza was 50 years old when she was sentenced, she is likely to spend the rest of her life serving her sentence.

Barraza is serving her sentence at the Santa Martha de Acatitla prison in Mexico City, a women’s facility which houses 3,000 inmates convicted of all kinds of heinous crimes. 

At the prison she works as a gym instructor and sells tacos to other inmates. She also reportedly married for the first time whilst in prison - she wed a man named Miguel Quiróz in 2015, though the pair divorced two years later. 

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders is available to watch on Netflix now

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