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The Little Old Lady KillerThe Sensationalized Crimes of Mexico's First Female Serial Killer$
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Susana Vargas Cervantes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479876488

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479876488.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Look of the Serial Killer

The Look of the Serial Killer

El/La Mataviejitas

(p.63) 2 The Look of the Serial Killer
The Little Old Lady Killer

Susana Vargas Cervantes

NYU Press

This chapter concentrates on the visual material police and criminologists used in their search to identify El/La Mataviejitas, most especially: (1) the sketches police used to identify the male El Mataviejitas before the killer's gender became more complicated, 2) a three-dimensional bust, molded based on witnesses’ accounts of the Mataviejitas, and (3) the photographs of Juana Barraza taken by a police criminologist after her arrest. The analysis of these visuals is juxtaposed to the text that accompanies them. The sexed, gendered, classed, and skin-tone-based tensions between the sketches used by the police, the media's narrations of the Mataviejitas case, and the official discourses of what a criminal stereotypically “looks” like are highlighted. Particular attention is paid to CaraMex, the criminal identification software used in Mexico and, finally, the set of photographs of Juana Barraza’s “gaze” taken as confirmation that she is (and has always been) La Mataviejitas.

Keywords:   criminality, sketches, criminal photography, CaraMex, pigmentocracy, stereotype

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