MEXICALI — With details that echo Jack the Ripper, Mexicali officials are investigating a possible serial killer or killers targeting area prostitutes for years.
About 44 murders of women here since 2008 appear to have enough similarities to potentially be the result of a serial killer or killers, said Alfredo Arenas Moreno, Baja California Estate Police chief officer in charge of the international liaison unit.
While the Baja California Attorney General’s Office here is officially in charge of the investigation, updates on the investigation are regularly provided to police.
While not official, there is a line of investigation that’s following the murders as a result of either a serial killer or three serial killers that are likely family members, Moreno explained. Only two of the 44 murders were not prostitutes or drug users.
“They target these women when they come out late at night from the bars that they’re working. They pick them up and they murder them,” Moreno said. “In some cases, they dismember them and throw them in some canal or some abandoned lot. They’re still investigating if there is a serial killer or not. It’s not confirmed.”
The attorney general said in a report that since 2009, three women’s bodies have been found dismembered here, including one this year.
Moreno said to his knowledge, there has never been a serial killer here. Also, serial killing in Mexico is generally confused with organized crime.
“The attorney general is trying to clear up that smoke that these murders are not organized crime, drug-related, and it is some sort of crazy person or persons targeting this type of women,” he said.
Few details of the murders or profile information on the possible killer or killers have been released due to the ongoing investigation and the threat of copycats.
A couple of months ago, local Mexico media began widely reporting on the issue.
“The people in Mexicali are very calm about this, because again, it’s being targeted to one sector of the population only, and the women that are in that sector of the population are being alerted to keep an eye out and watch out for themselves and try to be safe and not walk around the city late at night by themselves because of this situation,” Moreno said.
He added that women going to nightclubs here should be extra careful and not go alone.
Baja California State Assemblyman Francisco Javier Sánchez Corona, PRD-Ensenada, recently announced that there will be meetings with Mexicali prostitutes to discuss possible ways to increase their security while working.
A prostitute identified as “Aileen” said that she heard the killer offers women more than their asking prices in order to lure them to go to a second location.
Area prostitutes are scared and changing the way they work in response to the murders.
“We don’t leave the hotel. We don’t work outside the hotel,” she said in Spanish. “We only work with clients that come to the hotel.”
Another prostitute, identified as “Guadalupe,” said all prostitutes try to take cell phone camera photos of customer’s license plates when someone leaves with them for their own safety. One of the women murdered was her friend, and she began crying as she described the loss.
“She had a horrible death. It’s very painful for me because she didn’t have anyone except for her son,” Guadalupe said in Spanish. “She didn’t have anyone from her family. They cut her into 45 little pieces. They tortured her, and I loved her very much. I hope justice is done. This can’t stay this way.”
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org