Yiya Murano

Previously, we talked about a public servant called Ylva Johansson, who performed several roles in the Swedish government, including one relating to elderly care and improved quality of life in the aging population.

Today it’s almost the opposite – a murderer who ended up depending upon elderly care services and support. As a near polar opposite, comparison of the two stories demonstrates how two individuals can offer such a different contribution to society, yet end up being linked.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say, with a little commentary of our own included.


Maria de las Mercedes Bernardina Bolla Aponte de Murano (20 May 1930 – 26 April 2014), better known as Yiya Murano, and also referred to as the Poisoner of Monserrat was an Argentinian serial killer and swindler. Convicted of three murders, she was imprisoned for 16 years before being sent to an elderly care facility to serve out the remainder of her sentence, due to her advanced age.

That obviously blows out of the water the stereotype of offenders being young down and out criminals.

Nilda Gamba, a neighbor of Murano’s died on 10 February 1979. On 19 February, Murano’s friend, Leila Chicha Formisano de Ayala, died. Murano owed money to both women, and both bodies showed signs of cyanide poisoning.

It’s hardly a crime of the moment, such attacks would need a huge degree of planning to execute. It’s clearly an act in cold blood.

On 24 March 1979, Murano’s cousin, Carmen Zulema del Giorgio de Venturini, fell and died on the stairs of a building on Hipolito Yrigoyen Street, where she lived. Zulema’s death was initially attributed to cardiac arrest. Zulema’s daughter found that a promissory note worth 20 million Argentine peso ley was missing from her mother’s belongings. The building’s doorman said that Murano arrived for a visit carrying a mysterious package (which was later discovered to contain masas finas), and had casually asked for a copy of the keys to Zulema’s apartment keys, saying, “I need her notebook to warn her relatives”. Murano entered her cousin’s apartment and left quickly, carrying papers and a jar. She complained loudly: “My God, it’s my third friend to die in a short time!” During the autopsy, examiners discovered cyanide in Zulema’s body. Investigators discovered the poison in the jar mentioned by the doorman, and in the masas finas.

It’s rather brazen to announce the passing of three friends as such a coincidence, perhaps a glimpse of the nature of the individual’s state of mind.

On 27 April 1979, the police arrested Murano at her home on Mexico Street. In 1980, she was found unconscious in the prison where she was being held; later, they removed one of Murano’s lungs.

Murano was convicted in 1985, during the Trial of the Juntas. She insisted upon her innocence, saying: “I never invited anyone to eat.”

Murano was released from prison after 16 years. It was learned that she sent the judges who released her a box of chocolates as a token of her appreciation.

I suspect the recipient of that gift would not be inclined to consume those chocolates, given the past crimes.

Argentinian writer Marisa Grinstein included Murano in her book Mujeres Asesinas (Killer Women). In 2006, an episode of the Canal 13 television series of the same name featured a recreation of Murano’s crimes. At the end of the episode, the real Yiya Murano appeared and proclaimed her innocence, citing evidence.

The second season of Mujeres Asesinas, the Mexican adaptation of the series, featured an episode based on Murano entitled “Tita Garza, Swindler,” starring Patricia Reyes Spindola.


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