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Mexican "Old Lady" Serial Killer finally caught.
January 28, 2006 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Mexican "Old Lady" Serial Killer finally caught. After more than a decade of killing little old ladies, Mexican police believe they have finally captured the person responsible - a female serial killer. An ex-wrestler who is also a devotee of La Santa Muerte there is no mention of her motive other than the shrine in her house. Popular with the poor and destitute on either side of the law, the cult has 2 million adherents in Mexico City and is popular on the US/Mexico border. "God helps the good, the Devil helps the bad, but Death treats everyone the same."
posted by ninazer0 (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It's my first post - please be gentle.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:30 PM on January 28, 2006


The Santa Muerte cult angle is more interesting than the serial murderer. Santa Muerte is so creepy.

(ninazer0: relax. its a good post. the only thing you did wrong is saying "its my first post - please be gentle" - The post should stand (or fall) by itself :)
posted by vacapinta at 2:42 PM on January 28, 2006


From the 3rd link:

Removal of this status would forbid it from legally soliciting donations or owning property. Sounding a lot like the ACLU or other US and European civil libertarians, the marchers for St. Death brandished banners during a March rally in Mexico City shouting "We are not criminals" and "Respect religious freedom"!

Hmm. Comparing the ACLU to a death cult. The site appears to be written by conservative Catholics, although there's nothing explicitly stating it. Makes for a strange read, really...

That said, this is a cool post. I'd never heard about the killings or the cult.
posted by brundlefly at 3:22 PM on January 28, 2006


Strange.

Another very strange thing about serial killers, they tend to exist only in the U.S. It's very America centric, probably because of all the publicity they get. They happen in other places, but not as often. I wonder if serial killer mistique is a US cultural export to mexico.

Of course, in many other places in the world, there is much more opportunity for people to kill eachother.
posted by delmoi at 3:24 PM on January 28, 2006


I'm totally with vacapinta: interesting post, but not for the serial killin' angle.

I couldn't help but think, while reading that first La Santa Muerta link, of the Wicker Man --

Sgt. Howie: And what of the true god, whose glory, churches and monasteries have been built on these islands for generations past? Now sir, what of him?

Lord Summerisle: He's dead. Can't complain, had his chance and in modern parlance, blew it.
posted by ford and the prefects at 3:38 PM on January 28, 2006


I don't know that serial killing is necessarily an American phenomenon, delmoi. This list features quite a few non-American cases. It just seems like there are more here because 1) we're bigger and 2) serial killers overseas aren't likely to make the evening news.
posted by jrossi4r at 3:42 PM on January 28, 2006


I have to agree with you, jrossi4r. May I add a 3.5 to your list of reasons?

We actually love our serial killers.
posted by brundlefly at 3:49 PM on January 28, 2006


Delmoi, in translation: I watch tv every day, and it seems that events of any variety only happens here in the US. Nothing ever happens anywhere else. Apparently in other places they just sit around picking their noses all day, we never hear anything at all about them. Why is that? Why, yes, I only pay attention to American news, why do you ask?
posted by Hildegarde at 3:49 PM on January 28, 2006


Seems a bit harsh, Hildegarde. We do make a bigger deal about these things, so one can be forgiven for thinking that we have a monopoly.
posted by brundlefly at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2006


Hildegarde, in translation: Why do the Americans insist on consuming their locally produced news when they could spend all day researching various sources of international news? They could install satellite dishes and quit their jobs in order to spend all day combing international news websites. But making innocent queries on message boards? Absolutely not, they must be smacked down in the most pretentious way possible!
posted by mullacc at 4:11 PM on January 28, 2006


Well played, mullacc. If a bit, uh, snarkier than my own comment.
posted by brundlefly at 4:19 PM on January 28, 2006


Hildegarde: True story: I went to Europe one time to go "backpacking" like a true American twentysomething, hoping to "party" with the locals, but when I got there, the streets were deserted, and every window I looked in revealed a room full of Europeans, just sitting around picking their noses all day. Well, I took my Eurail pass as far as it would take me, and it was all the same. Just nose-picking non-Americans from horizon to horizon.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2006


Yeah, Jek, but they were all well-dressed, weren't they?
posted by brundlefly at 4:31 PM on January 28, 2006


I heard on the news that she killed women because she hated her mom for giving her up to a man that sexually abused her. Could be total bs though.
posted by puke & cry at 4:31 PM on January 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sure, but they always had their shirts tucked in to their pants -- even sweaters and sweatshirts, and their pants were always pulled up too high and were too short. It was very disconcerting.

And sorry for the derail -- this really was a great FPP. Thanks, ninazer0!
posted by JekPorkins at 4:33 PM on January 28, 2006


Its interesting to read police speculations about this killer in hindsight:

Police say the killer struck most recently in October. Witnesses have described a masculine figure in a dress near the scene of some of the crimes, indicating the killer may be mimicking another serial killer in France — the Monster of Montmartre, a transvestite who strangled or bludgeoned to death 21 elderly Parisian women between 1984 and 1987.
...

Another clue linking the killer to France is that three of the victims all had copies of the same painting — an 18th century portrait called "Boy in Red Waistcoat" by French artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze. The canvas, which was popular in Mexico in the 1970s, shows a feminine-looking boy in a frilly red tunic.

Criminologist Miguel Ontiveros, who constructed a psychological profile of the killer, said he believes the paintings are no coincidence.

"The feminine boy in the waistcoat could be connected to a murderer who has a sexual identity crisis," Ontiveros said.

posted by vacapinta at 4:45 PM on January 28, 2006


No kidding, vacapinta. That's fascinating.
posted by brundlefly at 4:49 PM on January 28, 2006


I prepared this little statistic:

Country | Serial Killers | Inhabitants (Millions) | Serial killers pr. Million inh.
Australia | 13 | 20 | 0.65
UK | 27 | 60 | 0.45
Sweden | 3 | 9 | 0.333333333
USA | 56 | 297 | 0.188552189
Canada | 6 | 32 | 0.1875
France | 7 | 61 | 0.114754098
Netherlands | 1 | 16 | 0.0625

(Sorry about the terrible layout, I couldn't get a table working in preview, even though it worked in live preview.)

Sources: 1, 2

If I was to hazard to draw any type of conclusion here, I'd remove Sweden and the Netherlands since they are so small and have so few serial killers that one incident skews the results. Then I'd notice that there is a correlation between culture/language coherence and serial killer prevalence, with highly English-speaking and coherent Australia at the top with bilingual Canada and France, with its millions of African immigrants, at the bottom. As usual, correlation does not equal causation.
posted by spazzm at 5:45 PM on January 28, 2006


Oh, sorry guys. I forgot that the internet is nationally censored and you're totally incapable of reading the 'international news' section of your newspapers. Silly me! Of course, up here in Canada we only have men who feed prostitutes to pigs and couples who rape teenagers, chop them into bits and dip them in concrete. That particular story was sexy enough to warrant an American-made movie.

Saying "serial killers only exist in the US" is just underscoring the fact that you not only don't pay attention to non-US stories, but you don't even seem to NOTICE that you don't pay attention to non-US stories. How can you say what does and does not happen elsewhere when you're only paying attention to yourselves?
posted by Hildegarde at 5:58 PM on January 28, 2006


Spazzm, that's an interesting collection of statistics, although finding my country at the top is kind of freaking me out right about now. Without any info to back me up whatsoever, I'm going to reply that we tend to catch them more because that sort of behaviour stands out from the general background hum here (small population spread over a large area with low crime rate). I read (although I can't find the reference) that serial killings in the US are harder to pin down because details that might link them tend to get overlooked in the general workload (feel free to shoot me down here...) so while it looks more, we would have the same average as the rest of the world. Looking at it that way, you guys have way more running around than you think you do. Not a nice thought, either...

Vacapinta, those images were great btw. The more I find out about La Santa Muerte, the more interesting it gets.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:16 PM on January 28, 2006


Not part of the post, but Mexico caught another suspected serial killer in the last couple of days, a man who is believed to be responsible for four murders. (Link.)

One thing I've found interesting is that both of these have involved Mexico's homosexual community. In the case of the "mataviejitas," the suspect was long believed to be a man dressed as a woman. Witness reports described the suspect as "mannish." As a result, Mexico City cops have spent months rounding up, questioning and fingerprinting transvestites. Even one of the arresting officers told the press that he thought she "was a homosexual" because of her strength in resisting arrest. Turns out she was a wrestler. In any case, gay organizations called for apologies for that comment and for the targeting of transvestites.

In the second case, there were few unconfirmed reports and mostly rumors about a killer who was luring men from gay bars before torturing and killing them. Reportedly he carved a star into the forehead of at least one of his victims. Only following the suspect's arrest was it actually made public, in an official capacity, that police had been seeking a serial killer preying on gays.

By the way, it's always a good idea to take public "confessions" in Mexico with a healthy grain of salt. (Although in these two cases it sounds like the police have pretty solid evidence.) Criminal suspects are routinely paraded before the media in Mexico following arrest, and obliged to make "confessions" before the press and often pose for photographs holding suspected murder weapons and seized drugs and the like. It's particularly embarrassing (galling) when they have bruised and puffy faces, and it's obvious they've had the crap kicked out of them.
posted by donpedro at 6:33 PM on January 28, 2006


Perhaps a better way to put that is that both of these serial killer cases have in some way or another raised issues of homosexuality and homophobia, neither of which is all that discussed down here.
posted by donpedro at 6:35 PM on January 28, 2006


Well, Hildegarde, it's nice to see that being juvenile and rude is not a uniquely American condition. I was starting to worry. I'm not saying your position doesn't have any merit. There is a considerable amount of self-absorption/tunnel vision in American culture, but delmoi's comment was understandable. Non-Americans could be forgiven for thinking that America has more serial killers, just based on the amount of ink we devote to them. Not everything can be explained by how fat, dumb and lazy Americans are.
posted by brundlefly at 10:56 PM on January 28, 2006


This kind of thing isn't restricted only to Mexico; I spend a lot of time in Lagos, Nigeria on biz (obviously) and human sacrifice is still something that you read about in the papers down there.

The authorities are trying to stamp it out, but reports seem to flare up from time to time and sometimes you'll read of several different cases in less than one week.

In terms of Nigerian serial killers, well violence to too prevalent down there to tell. But I'm sure they exist.
posted by Mutant at 12:49 AM on January 29, 2006


Breaking it down by region should make it even more interesting. Why do so many serial killers come from Wisconsin? I'd bet Canada follows the international pattern, with more serial killers in the Anglo than the French part.
posted by dgaicun at 2:16 AM on January 29, 2006


Mhh ninazero....vacapinta..donpedro and elpapacito

It's a conspiracy threated !
posted by elpapacito at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2006


In terms of Nigerian serial killers, well violence to too prevalent down there to tell. But I'm sure they exist.

Good point - the tentative conclusion that English-speaking cultures produce more serial killers is a bit shaky when you consider that there are plenty of coutries where violent death is relatively common, and that those countries tend to be relatively poorly policed, allowing serial killers to go unnoticed (unless they have a particularly grisly/unusual modus operandi, I suppose). So, er, if you want to do some serial killing, it's probably best to move to somewhere war-torn with a crap police force, doing it in the US/UK/Australia, you're just bound to get nicked at some point.

Almost back on topic: it's pretty funny to see Catholics getting all snooty about a death cult!
posted by jack_mo at 10:36 AM on January 29, 2006


the tentative conclusion that English-speaking cultures produce more serial killers is a bit shaky when you consider that there are plenty of coutries where violent death is relatively common, and that those countries tend to be relatively poorly policed.

This is true, and it's a good argument if you're talking about Africa and some portions of South and Central America. But I'm not sure it's true of industrialized nations with well-organized police forces. Western Europe, Japan, Singapore -- the policing is as good as that of the UK or US.

I'd say that the scewed results come from the source (Wikepidia) which is selective, and I'm sure that if you'd use police databases you'd get some useful data.
posted by jrochest at 11:49 AM on January 30, 2006


the tentative conclusion that English-speaking cultures produce more serial killers is a bit shaky when you consider that there are plenty of coutries where violent death is relatively common, and that those countries tend to be relatively poorly policed.

This is true, and it's a good argument if you're talking about Africa and some portions of South and Central America. But I'm not sure it's true of industrialized nations with well-organized police forces. Western Europe, Japan, Singapore -- the policing is as good as that of the UK or US.

I'd say that the scewed results come from the source (Wikepidia) which is selective, and I'm sure that if you'd use police databases you'd get some useful data.
posted by jrochest at 11:49 AM on January 30, 2006


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