The 'Mexican Ripper' Who Murdered At Least A Dozen Prostitutes In The 19th Century

In the nineteenth century, the bodies of over 10 women were found in Mexico City with strangling marks and torture injuries. Authorities would eventually discover that the perpetrator had been Francisco Guerrero Pérez, also known as "El Chalequero," "The Consulado River Strangler,or simply "The Mexican Ripper," the first recorded serial killer in Mexican history.

His victims were mainly prostitutes working in the downtown area of the city. According to the psychological profile made by specialists, this man believed he had the right to kill them since he considered their profession to be sinful. Moreover, this man had a physical and moral superiority complex that moved him to take advantage of prostitutes' vulnerability and unleash his hatred towards women in general.

Unlike Jack the Ripper, who was terrorizing London more or less at the same time, Guerrero never tried to hide his identity. According to an investigation made by the Mexican newspaper El Universal, his murders were known by all the prostitutes of the area, but no one accused him out of fear of being punished because of their way of life.

There are many theories surrounding this man's nickname: "Chalequero" makes reference to the Spanish word for a vest, chaleco. The most popular theory states that González used vests quite often. Another theory suggests he acquired the name because he had sexual intercourse a chaleco, by force. The term also relates to those psychiatric straightjackets.

A lot has been said about his life, including questionable details that are most likely result of gossip. For instance, it's said that his lovers financially supported him, so he never spent a dime on his own clothes. Beyond that, he was a person who took great care of his appearance. People have assured him to be extremely delightful and empathic. Yet, the only things that have been confirmed are his address and that his profession as a shoemaker.

Most of the famous serial killers have been characterized by their agreeable personality which, in most cases, was how they lured their victims. Guerrero Perez would approach sex workers on the street offering their services. He'd go with them to a private place to have sex with them and, once they were vulnerable, tortured and strangled them. After that, he would rip their bodies and throw them into the Consulado River in Mexico City.

Rumor has it that it was a neighbor who gave him away to the authorities. He was caught in a tavern in 1888 and sentenced to death. However, then-president Porfirio Díaz, lowered his sentence to only 20 years of imprisonment at the Fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, a prison set on an island. However, the "Mexican Ripper" was set in 1904 because his file was misplaced into the pile of political prisoners who were granted forgiveness.

Four years later, in 1908, the body of an old woman, who people assured was connected to prostitution, was found in the same river, presenting the same marks and cause of death as Guerrero's previous victims.

He was arrested and sent to the Lecumberri prison in the city, where he was sentenced to death. However, he soon died due to a hemiparesis caused by a brain congestion. He passed away in a hospital bed when he was 70 years old, avoiding the rope once again.

His cruel actions were known all over the country, and they were even illustrated by the famous artist Guadalupe Posada. His face and all his crimes were top news in all the papers. One of these papers bears the headline, "Between 1880 and 1888, Jack the Ripper was terrorizing a good part of the cultivated Europe. We have never had in Mexico such a vicious and bloodthirsty criminal. For the last twenty years there have been registered, crime after crime, over 17 women terribly ripped".

Guerrero enjoyed almost seven years of freedom to commit his crimes. He also became a famous character in Mexico's collective memory. No one was able to stipulate the real number of murders he committed. Some specialists assure there were seventeen women, and others assure the number surpassed twenty.

If you want to know more about Mexico's history, take a look at these 20 Photos You Need To See Before Visiting Mexico To Understand Its History. You might be also interested in The Sophisticated Mural That Reveals Mexico's History.

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Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards




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