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Wrestler arrested for suspected "Old lady Killing"
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Old 26 Jan 2006, 06:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wrestler arrested for suspected "Old lady Killing"


'Little Old Lady Killer' suspect is former pro wrestler

Police showed murder suspect Juana Barraza with a bust made in the hunt for a serial killer.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- A former professional wrestler captured while fleeing a house where an 82-year-old woman had been strangled has been linked to the deaths of at least 10 elderly women, police said Thursday, raising hopes that the notorious "Little Old Lady Killer" is in custody.

Authorities say they have enough evidence to believe that Juana Barraza, 48, is the "Mataviejitas," who has been terrorizing elderly residents here for two years.

She was captured as she was running from a house Wednesday night where Ana Maria Reyes had just been strangled with a stethoscope. During her arrest outside the house, she told police and reporters that she did kill Reyes, but not the others.

"Yes, I did it," she said, smiling at the television cameras. She quickly added: "Just because I'm going to pay for it, that doesn't mean they're going to hang all the crimes on me."

On Thursday, Mexico City Attorney General Bernardo Batiz told the Televisa network that Barraza admitted to killing three other women in addition to Reyes. He also said Barraza's fingerprints matched those left at the scene of 10 other murders as well as one attempted murder.

Police had suspected that the killer was a man dressed as a woman, and they spent months detaining, questioning and fingerprinting transvestites.

But now they say Barraza, a stout woman who was a professional wrestler, is their prime suspect. She resembles police composite profiles and a sculptured rendering of the suspected serial killer -- including a similar haircut and facial mole.

Ismael Alvarado Ruiz, one of two policemen who made the arrest, said a neighbor alerted them to Barraza as she was running away from Reyes' modest, one-story brick house in a working-class neighborhood.

"My partner and I caught her by the arms and took her back to the patrol car," Alvarado Ruiz said. "We went back to the house, and everything was scattered all around."

Police said Barraza was carrying a bag with a stethoscope, pension forms and a card identifying her as a social worker. Police have long believed that the serial killer gained access to victims' homes by offering to sign them up for pensions or other programs for the elderly.

But Barraza said she went to the victim's home to ask for work doing laundry.

"That's a lie. I wasn't carrying the documents they have there," she said. She did not offer a motive, but told reporters, "You'll know why I did it when you read my statement to police."

One of Reyes' neighbors, 73-year-old Lourdes Medina, remembered the victim as a tidy, hardworking woman.

"This is very sad. It's not fair," Medina said. "This could have happened to me. I'm scared to walk on the street."

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