"The Juárez Ripper" is the name given to a prolific serial killer(s) who is/are believed to have perpetrated a series of violent murders against women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, since the beginning of 1993.
Brief Case History
The first victim attributed to the Ripper killings was Alma Farel, who had been beaten, raped, and strangled in the Campestre Virreyes district on January 23, 1993. By the end of the year, sixteen more women were found murdered under similar circumstance. Some of the victims were found with slash wounds on their breasts, a trait which would later result in the press dubbing the killer, "The Juárez Ripper". A year later, in 1994, eight women were murdered in Ciudad Juárez, all of the cases ended up being unsolved. That same year, a state criminologist named Oscar Maynez Grijalva told police that there was a very high chance of a serial killer or a group of serial killers active in the city, but he was not taken seriously.
In 1995, even more women were murdered, with a total of nineteen victims by mid-September and twenty-nine in the remaining months. A suspect, an Egyptian chemist named Abdul Latif Sharif, was arrested on unrelated accusations of rape and convicted for one murder, but the murders continued by the next year; embarrassed, the police attempted to pin the new murders on a street gang who they claimed was hired by Sharif, but they were met with mostly unsuccessful results. Even afterward, the murders continued for several years. Many suspects were arrested but strangely enough, the murders seemed to escalate each time a suspect was identified. One murder was committed by a police officer assigned to the Ripper case. In 1999, the police attempted to pin dozens of the murders on another gang but failed.
In 1998, Mexico's Human Rights Commission compiled a report that criticized the police's handling of the investigation, but politicians covered it up from the public to avoid any adverse impact on the upcoming state elections at the time. Protests were held against the local police by both American and Mexican legislators. Despite the case being investigated by several professional people, such as retired FBI profiler Robert Ressler and a team of active-duty G-Men, there was no success in identifying the killer and the case officially remains unsolved. On December 9, the Associated Press reported that at least seventeen murders were likely the work of one individual, while 76 others were the work of at least one copycat. A common theory is that the killer(s) chose Ciudad Juárez to commit the murders because of its high activity of organized crime.
- Abdul Latif Sharif (c. 1947 - June 1, 2006)
- Egyptian chemist
- First name is sometimes spelled as Abdel
- Imprisoned in the U.S. for rape, fled to Ciudad Juárez at the end of his term to escape deportation back to Egypt
- Was accused of raping a young maquilladora in her house, and was found to have dated one of the Ripper victims, Elizabeth Castro Garcia
- Died in a Mexican prison after being convicted of Garcia's murder
- Accused another serial killer, Alejandro Máynez, of being the true Ripper
- Widely believed to have been used as a scapegoat by the Mexican police
- Los Rebeldes de Ciudad Juárez ("The Ciudad Juárez Rebels")
- Gang of murderous drug dealers and rapists
- Led by Sergio Armendáriz Díaz (b. 1980), a.k.a. "El Diablo" ("The Devil"), and Juan Contreras Jurado
- Member Héctor Olivares Villalba was arrested in 1996 and confessed to the murder of Rosario García Leal, a 17-year-old factory worker who disappeared on December 7, 1995
- Carlos Barriento Vidales, Gerardo Fernández Molina, and Romel Omar Ceniceros García were implicated by Olivares Villalba and convicted for eight murders in 2005
- Carlos Hernández Molina Mariscal, Erika Fierro, and Fernando Gremes Aguirre were also implicated by Olivares Villalba, but were released due to a lack of evidence
- Claimed to have been hired to commit murders by Abdul Latif Sharif
- Members later claimed to have been tortured by police for confessions
- Suspected of committing between ten and fourteen murders
- Los Chóferes (Spanish for "The Drivers")
- Gang of serial killers and rapists working as bus drivers
- Allegedly led by Victor Moreno Rivera, a.k.a. "El Narco"
- Other purported members were Jesus Guardado Marquez, "El Dracula" and "El Tolteca"; Augustin Toribio Castillo, "El Kiani"; Bernardo Hernando Fernandez, "El Samber"; and Jose Gaspar Cerballos Chavez, "El Gaspy"
- Believed to have murdered at least twenty women in Ciudad Juárez
- Member Marquez was first suspected of raping and choking a fourteen-year-old girl to near-death
- Also claimed to have been paid by Sharif to commit copycat crimes
- Later claimed to have been tortured by police for confessions, just like Los Rebeldes de Ciudad Juárez
- Ángel Maturino Reséndiz (August 1, 1960 - June 27, 2006)
- Nicknamed "The Railroad Killer"
- Serial killer and rapist who murdered at least fifteen people in the U.S.
- Suspected of being the Ripper by both Robert Ressler and Candice Skrapec because of his strong family ties to Ciudad Juárez
- Eventually cleared of involvement
- Executed in Texas for his murders in the U.S.
- Javier Garcia Uribe (b. c. 1973) and Gustavo Gonzalez Meza (c. 1973 - February 8, 2003)
- Bus drivers
- Charged with eight murders relating to the discovery of a mass grave days earlier
- Purported by police to have been part of a gang whose members were serving time for at least twenty other Ripper murders
- Both claimed to have been tortured by police for confessions
- Cleared of any involvement by DNA evidence
- Meza later died, allegedly from complications from surgery in jail
- Alejandro Máynez (b. 1970s)
- Also known by Armando Martinez
- Serial killer believed to have killed at least fifty people, two of them in Ciudad Juárez
- Arrested in 1992 for the murder of a woman in Chihuahua City, but was accidentally released and remains at large
- Police file also remains missing
- According to a book written by an unknown author, who is believed to be Máynez himself, dozens of women were murdered in Ciudad Juárez by members of the organized crime; some even participated in snuff films
- Pedro Padilla Flores (b. 1970s)
- Nicknamed "The Río Bravo Killer"
- Former resident of Ciudad Juárez
- Serial killer convicted in 1986 for the rapes and murders of two women and a thirteen-year-old girl
- Escaped from custody in 1991 and remains at large
- The Hands of Death
- Édgar Ernesto Álvarez Cruz and José Francisco Granados de la Paz (b. 1979)
- Nicknamed "Los Feminicidas del Campo Algodonero" (Spanish for "The Cottonfield Female Killers")
- Killing team
- Believed to have murdered at least fourteen women in Ciudad Juárez
- Carlos Gardena Cruz and Jorge García Paz
- Former federal agents
- Prime suspects in the disappearance of Silva Arce and the death of Griselda Mares, who was allegedly killed by police during a mistaken dispute about stolen guns
- Pedro Valles
- Investigator assigned to the Ripper murders
- Murdered his girlfriend in 1998 at the state police academy
- Remains at large
- Dagoberto Ramírez
- Former police officer
- Fired and arrested in 1999 for murdering his girlfriend
- Was released after he claimed that the victim had killed herself
- Julio Rodríguez Valenzuela
- Former police officer
- Attempted to rape a sixteen-year-old girl near two murder locations and remains at large
- Sergio Hernández Pereda
- Former police chief of suburban El Sauzal
- Accused of attempting to rape a sixteen-year-old girl near the site of two Ripper murders in April 1999
- Prime suspect in the murder of his wife
- Remains at large
- May have fled to El Paso, Texas, or New Mexico
- Melchor Baca
- Former police officer
- Murdered a male friend of his wife's at the courthouse where they both worked
- Remains at large
- The Mexicali Ripper
- Unidentified serial killer believed to have murdered and dismembered at least 44 women since 2008
- There have also been a number of conspiracy theories, from various sources, that claim the Ripper murders were the work of some sort of organization, though its identity varies. These theories include the following:
- Some Chihuahua City residents proclaimed their beliefs that the Ripper murders were the work of a Satanic cult in the same vein as "The Hands of Death"
- An urban myth, popular in some novels and films, dictated that the Ripper murders were perpetrated by organ harvesters, and it was rumored that some of the victims had vital organs missing
- At least ten women accused the local police of abducting and raping them within a five-year span, but no charges were filed. Investigators did confirm that an unidentified police officer was under investigation for two of the Ripper murders that occurred in 1995.
- Authorities have suspected drug cartels and believed some of the victims were drug addicts or small-time drug mules who were killed as loose ends. The FBI made a report about the torture and murder of seventeen-year-old Lilia Garcia in November 2001, which pointed the blame to drug traffickers; Garcia's body was found 100 yards near the location of a mass grave containing eight Ripper victims, discovered on November 6-7, 2001.
- Some police officers suspected the murders were the work of a cabal of wealthy and influential men
The victims were usually young, dark-haired women who worked in maquilladoras as factory workers or students. They were beaten, raped, and killed by a variety of ways, such as strangulation, stabbing, bludgeoning, shooting, and even burning. Occasionally, the killer would mutilate or dismember their bodies, hence his nickname. For unspecified reasons, the killer took an interest in slashing his victims' breasts and biting them. At least three of the victims were from the U.S.
On Criminal Minds
The case seems to have inspired prolific serial killer Jacob DuFour, who dumped the bodies of his victims in drug cartel-controlled areas in Ciudad Juárez as a way to hide his crimes from authorities. Just like in the Ripper case, a law enforcement official investigating Jacob's murders in Mexico filed a report about the possibility of a serial killer active in the area, but the report was never followed up on (but for different reasons).
- Wikipedia's article about the murders
- TruTV Crime Library's articles about the murders
- Spanish Wikipedia:
- True Crime XL post about the murders
- Mayhem.net article about the murders
- The Women of Ciudad Juárez
- ↑ No relation to Barbara Martinez