Netflix’s new true-crime documentary The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders follows the story of Mexico’s first female serial killer: Juana Barraza, also known as “The Little Old Lady Killer” or “The Lady of Silence.”
From 1998 to 2006, 48 elderly women were murdered in Mexico City. Police searched for the killer for years and ultimately convicted Juana Barraza of 16 of the murders.
32 remain unsolved, according to the documentary.
Who Is Juana Barraza?
Born in 1957, Barraza was 48 years old when she was arrested in 2006. She told police that the reason she killed elderly women, earning her the nickname “La Mataviejitas” or “The Little Old Lady Killer,” was that she held a deep resentment against her own mother, who she says abused her as a child.
Barraza’s mother had given her away to a much older man who abused her when she was 12, according to The Guardian.
Barraza’s second nickname, “La Dama del Silencio” or “The Lady of Silence,” comes from her past as a wrestler. “The Lady of Silence” is the name she gave herself to go with her pink luchador costume — but former friends of hers within the wrestling community said in the documentary that they never actually saw her in a wrestling match.
According to the New York Times, she worked as a popcorn vendor during the matches.
However, according to the documentary, medical personnel who examined the murder victims said they had been put in a chokehold commonly used by wrestlers. For a long time, police searched for a male suspect with a past in wrestling because of that detail as well as descriptions from witnesses that the suspect had large hands and broad shoulders — never suspecting that the culprit could be a woman.
Barraza’s other signature was that, in addition to the choke hold, she wrapped something around her victims’ necks that she found in their home, like a scarf or a cable. She tied them in a specific style of knot, which she demonstrated to investigators, as shown in the documentary.
When she was arrested, Barraza had two children but was living alone.
Where Is Juana Barraza Now?
Barraza is currently serving a 759-year prison sentence in Santa Martha Acatitla prison.
She was arrested while leaving the scene of one of the crimes. A neighbor and friend of her final victim, 82-year-old Ana Maria de los Reyes Alfaro, walked into Alfaro’s apartment looking for her and saw Barraza fleeing the scene. Alfaro had been strangled with a stethoscope.
The neighbor alerted police officers who were already in the neighborhood, and they were able to apprehend Barraza as she was running away.
Barraza was ultimately convicted of 16 murders and 12 burglaries, according to the Netflix doc.
Alfaro’s murder is the only one that Barraza has confessed to. She denies having killed anyone else, according to The Guardian.
She is currently 65 years old.
The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders is now streaming on Netflix.
Main Image: La Dama Del Silencio : Caso Mataviejitas S1. (L to R) José Ismael Alvarado, Juana Barraza in La Dama Del Silencio : Caso Mataviejitas S1. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.