A former female wrestler, accused of killing 11 elderly women in the Mexican capital, had an altar to the skeletal, scythe-wielding Santa Muerte death cult figure in her home, newspapers said.
Police searching the home of Juana Barraza, 48, after her arrest this week found a statue of Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, who is popular with thieves and drug smugglers, Reforma newspaper said.
She has confessed to several murders, police said.
Barraza, accused of being the feared “Mataviejitas,” or “Little Old Lady Killer,” sought by police for years, left offerings for the figure and also had a dead snake preserved in a jar in her home, papers said.
Barraza was arrested on Wednesday after she was spotted fleeing the home of an 82-year-old woman who had been strangled with a stethoscope. Barraza has been charged in the woman’s death.
Police say fingerprints link her to the murders of 10 other old women in the capital since 2000 and say she may have murdered another 30 people, most of them elderly women.
Santa Muerte is a centuries-old pagan cult which has seen a resurgence in interest in recent years and now claims some two million faithful in Mexico. Followers range from elite politicians to kidnappers and gangsters.
A muscular woman with short ginger hair, Barraza once fought professionally as a wrestler under the name The Silent Lady.
She had recently worked as a popcorn vendor at the wrestling shows.
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