The True Story Of Female Serial Killer Juana Barraza

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, elderly women in Mexico City were being ruthlessly murdered in their homes. According to The Crime Center, the victims were strangled and all had a similar profile. They were over 60 years old, lived alone, and lived near gardens or parks. Fearing it would cause hysteria, authorities refused to entertain the idea of a serial killer. Nonetheless, the death toll continued to increase. Per Murderpedia, the press soon dubbed the killer the "La Mataviejitas" — The Little Old Lady Killer. The police, realizing they could no longer ignore the situation, admitted the truth; yes, there was indeed a serial killer on the loose killing innocent grandmothers.

Investigators theorized that the killer was a man who was somehow gaining the victims' trust before entering their home. Film Daily states that eyewitness reports did not corroborate this as they had repeatedly described the perpetrator as a broad woman in a wig and makeup. Thus, police focused their attention on Mexico's transgender community. As they learned, they had made a big mistake. The killer was indeed a woman — her name was Juana Barraza.

Juana Barraza was a former lucha libre wrestler

On January 23, 2006, a man witnessed Barraza fleeing the home of his 86-year-old landlady, according to The Crime Center. When he opened her door, he found her lifeless body and began to scream for help. Per Film Daily, the police were close by and caught up to Barraza. After years of terror, the Mexico City "La Mataviejitas" had finally been caught. It was determined that to gain her victims' trust she would dress up as a social worker or nurse. They would willingly let her in, and Barraza would proceed to rob and kill them. It's possible she murdered up to 49 elderly women who were all found strangled to death over seven years, but why? Who was Barraza?

Prior to her arrest, Murderpedia states that she was a lucha libre wrestler who performed under the name "La Dama del Silencio" or "The Silent Lady." She had also survived an unimaginable childhood filled with poverty and abuse. According to CrimeReads, her alcoholic mother sold her to a man in exchange for three beers. 

Barraza was also a single mother, and she supported her family with her wrestling career until an injury forced her to retire. She then turned to murder and robbery to make ends meet. However, Barraza has also said that she chose older women as her victims as a form of revenge against her cruel mother. In 2008, she was sentenced to 759 years in prison for her crimes, according to The Guardian.