She was known as La Dama del Silencio (The Lady of Silence) when Juana Dayanara Barraza Samperio was fighting onstage as a masked wrestler. The lucha libre, a form of wrestling was not just a hobby but more of a livelihood.
Juana was a single parent who supported her family through mixture of wrestling, domestic work, street vending and theft. Her eldest son died from mugging while the second child, a daughter married early. Two youngest children lived with Juana in a middle class community. Neighbors described the children as respectful and friendly and Juana as pleasant.
Investigators later told that Juana’s relationship with her children (by different fathers) appeared stable. According to her lawyer, Juana was proud of being both a father and mother to her children.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s Juana toured Central Mexico as a masked wrestler. However, in 1995 she was in financial difficulties after giving birth to her fourth child. She began her career as a petty theft stealing items from shops and eventually evolved into burglarizing homes. With her friend Araceli Tapia Martinez, they dressed in white clothes and pretended to be nurses who gave free check-ups. Their targets were elderly people living alone. However, Araceli with her boyfriend Police Officer Moisés Flores Domínguez devised a plan to shake down Juana. Moises and Araceli pressed her for 12,000 pesos from the break-in she committed alone. Life for Juana became harder.
The first kill of Juana was in November 25, 2002 when María de la Luz González Anaya was found dead in her apartment. The victim was strangled with bare hands. Authorities then assumed that serial killer was a man and dubbed El Mataviejitas. Since then, brutal murders of elderly people in Mexico have shaken the police.
In 2005, Juana had a relationship with taxi driver José Francisco Torres Herrera. He became her accomplice as their attacks increased in frequency. The couple would cruise public places in search for elderly women on their own. Juana would win their trust and admittance to their homes by assisting with their shopping bags and applying for cleaning work. But on many occasions, Juana pretended to be a nurse or social worker. She would offer them massages or help in obtaining medicines and aids. She would strangle her victim or beat them first. After the killing, she would rob her.
In January, 2006, Juana approached Ana Maria de los Reyes Alfaro, 80 years old, and asked for a glass of water. The elderly woman let her inside the house. Juana picked up a stethoscope and used it to choke the old lady. However, as she was leaving the scene, a witness identified her.
Juana was arrested and brought to trial. She admitted killing Ana Maria and three others but not the other killings. The prosecutions hope that could tie her to 27 murders through fingerprint evidence. She was charged with 30 murders, found guilty in 16 killings and 12 robberies. She was sentenced to 759 years in prison.
Now, the city prosecutors questioned Juana Barraza “WHY?”
Further investigations revealed that Juana she killed elderly women because she identified them with her mother whom she hated so much. She wanted to release the anger sheltered against her mother Justa.
Juana was born in December 27, 1957 in Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, Mexico. Her mother Justa, an alcoholic prostitute left her husband Trinidad Barraza a police officer for Refugio Samperio, who was Justa’s stepfather.
Juana has never learned to read or write much beyond her name and had a tumultuous relationship with her mother. When she was 12, Juana’s mother gave her to José Lugo in exchange for three beers. She was raped and abused by Jose becoming pregnant and giving birth to a boy. Justa died of cirrhosis while Juana underwent a series of failed marriages, from which she had four children.