Between 1998 and 2005, a wave of murders targeting elderly women hit Mexico City, leading to the hunt for — and capture of - an unlikely suspect.


That person was Juana Barraza, a former professional wrestler.

Barraza was dubbed 'La Mataviejitas', meaning 'The Old Lady Killer', as all her victims were women aged 60 or over.

Barraza's first murder was suspected to have taken place in the late 1990s, and her total number of victims is estimated to be up to 40.

In 2006, Barraza was arrested after being caught fleeing from the home of one of her victims, Ana María de los Reyes Alfaro, 82.

Netflix are looking into the crimes of Barraza in their brand-new documentary, The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders.

But where is Juana Barraza today?

As the film comes to the streaming site, read on for everything you need to know about Juana Barraza, including where she is today and how many years she was sentenced to.

Who is Juana Barraza?

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders
The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders. Netflix

Juana Barraza is a Mexican serial killer and former professional wrestler. She fought under the ring name 'La Dama del Silenci' (The Lady of Silence).

Barraza was born in rural Hidalgo, Mexico, in 1957 to Trinidad Barraza and Justa Samperio. Her father worked as a police officer, while her mother was a sex worker and alcoholic, who reportedly exchanged her daughter for three beers to a man named José Lugo.

After her mum died of cirrhosis, Barraza left for Mexico City, where she got married several times and had four children. Her firstborn died when he was 24 years old.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Barraza held a variety of jobs and toured central Mexico as a masked wrestler. However, she became desperate for money in 1995 after the birth of her fourth child and began stealing. She then moved on to burgling homes.

In 1996, she came up with a plan to steal from the elderly with her friend Araceli Tapia Martínez. Together, they dressed up as nurses to gain access into their victims' homes, before robbing them while inside.

Barraza retired from wrestling in 2000 and her financial situation became worse.

Barraza's first victim was María de la Luz González Anaya, who was killed on November 25th 2002. She continued to murder multiple elderly women between 2002-2005.

The string of brutal murders of elderly people in Mexico City fuelled press speculation about the existence of a serial killer dubbed El Mataviejitas, who the police initially believed to be male.

By November 2005, the Mexican authorities were reporting witness statements that the killer wore women's clothing to gain access to the victim's apartments.

A major breakthrough came on 25th January 2006, when Juana Barraza was arrested while escaping from the home of her latest victim, Ana María de los Reyes Alfaro, 82. Alfaro lived in the Venustiano Carranza borough of Mexico City.

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To the surprise of many Mexicans, who had supposed the killer to be male, the suspect detained was, in fact, a woman.

Mexico City prosecutors said fingerprint evidence linked Barraza to at least 10 murders of the 40 attributed to the killer. She is said to have confessed to murdering Alfaro and three other women, but denied involvement in all other killings.

Where is Juana Barraza now?

Barraza was tried in the spring of 2008.

She admitted to Alfaro's murder and told the police her motive was lingering resentment regarding her own mother's treatment of her.

On 31 March 2008, she was found guilty on 16 charges of murder and aggravated burglary, including 11 separate counts of murder. She was sentenced to 759 years in prison. The convictions were mostly for murders she could be tied to through fingerprint evidence.

The maximum sentence under Mexican law is 60 years, and sentences imposed in Mexican courts are generally served concurrently. This means Barraza will most likely serve the full sentence in prison.

According to El País, Barraza is incarcerated at the Santa Martha de Acatitla prison in Mexico City.

She reportedly works as a gym instructor in prison and sells tacos to support her family.

According to news reports, Juana got married to a 74-year-old man named Miguel Ángel, who was housed in the men's unit of Santa Martha de Acatitla. The couple divorced after a year.

Their marriage was made possible under the government program Lazos en Reclusíon, which translates to 'bond in confinement'. They wed alongside 48 other prisoners.

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders arrives on Netflix on Thursday 27th. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.


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