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A.K.A.: "The Tacuba Strangler" - "El Goyo Cárdenas"
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Buried the bodies in his garden
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: August-September 1942
Date of arrest: September 4, 1942
Date of birth: 1915
Victims profile: María de los Ángeles González, 16 (prostitute) / Rosa Reyes, 16 (prostitute) / Raquel Martínez de León, 16 (prostitute) / Graciela Arias Ávalos, 19 (student)
Method of murder: Ligature strangulation
Location: Mexico, D. F., Mexico
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life in prison in 1943. Released on September 8, 1976. Died on August 2, 1999

photo gallery


Gregorio Cárdenas Hernández, (Goyo), the Tacuba strangler, kills four women, he has sex with the victim, asphyxia to three and kills the fourth hitting her, and he tries to hide the bodies in his house on Mar del Norte No. 20.

He is arrested in September 1942, and released on September 8 of 1976, he dies on August 2, 1999 when he was 82 years old.

During his imprisonment Dr Quiroz Cuarón diagnosed him from criminológica psychology: neurotic personality, evolutionary neurosis, organ-neurosis, narcissism and anal sadistic eroticism.

From the psychiatric point of view, his neurotic state is esquizo-paranoide. Goyo, who rejected a scholarship from PEMEX, writes three chronicles of his jail years, and after his liberation, receives a tribute, by the House of Representatives: an standing ovation to him.

Inspired by his history, they have been generated theater plays and cinema: "El Asesino” (the Assassin), kind of porn short movie, from the years forty. “El profeta Mimí” (Mimí prophet), film directed by Jose Estrada in 1973. “El Criminal de Tacuba” (The Tacuba Criminal), work of Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda, directed by Raul Quintanilla, who showed the play in the “Helénico”

Theater in the ninety. Goyo went to see the play, and as he displeased the references to hispersonality, he demands to the producers and writers, who are forced to pay 8 million old pesos. "Raptola, matola, violola" (kidnaped, raped, killed her), videohome of Benjamín Cann, makes reference to the case in "The Nativitas strangler". "Goyo", documentary made in 2003 by Verónica de la Luz, Marco Jalpa, Ricardo Ham y Salvador Méndez.


Gregorio "Goyo" Cárdenas Hernández (Mexico City, 1915 - Los Angeles, 2 August 1999), also known as the strangler of Tacuba (estrangulador de Tacuba), was a Mexican spree killer. He was the first multiple murderer whose case was widely published in the Mexican media, and became a national celebrity.

Early life

Cárdenas Hernández was born in Mexico City a family originating from the state of Veracruz. In part due to an encephalitis infection, he showed abnormal behavior as a child, including cruelty to animals. Cárdenas received a scholarship from Petróleos Mexicanos to study chemistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).


Cárdenas Hernández committed his murders in August and September 1942. On 15 August 1942 he was visited in his house in the Tacuba neighborhood of Mexico City by 16-year-old prostitute María de los Ángeles González. After having sex with her, Cárdenas strangled De los Ángeles and buried her body in his garden. In the following weeks he also murdered prostitutes Rosa Reyes and Raquel Martínez de León, both aged 16, and finally 19-year-old fellow chemistry student Graciela Arias Ávalos. His neighbors started to get suspicious and informed the police. Shortly before the police exhumed the bodies, Cárdenas had himself committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he was arrested on 7 September 1942.

Cárdenas was incarcerated in the notorious Lecumberri prison. During his trial Cárdenas pleaded guilty and was given a life sentence. He escaped prison in 1947 and fled to Oaxaca, but eventually was rearrested.


Cárdenas became a celebrity in Mexico, being the first multiple murderer receiving widespread media attention in that country. In the years following his murders there were reports of several copycat murderers imitating his crimes and an (illegal) pornographic movie based on his story was made. Cárdenas himself wrote three books while in prison and was regularly questioned and investigated by the country's top psychiatrists and criminologists. Cárdenas was allowed to pursue psychiatry and law studies while in prison. He learned to play the piano, wrote poetry, and even married in prison. His wife bore him four children.

In 1976 Cárdenas was pardoned by president Luis Echeverría. He was invited by interior secretary Mario Moya to give a speech in the Congress of the Union, where he was celebrated as a hero. He was hailed as a "great example" and a "clear case of rehabilitation". Cárdenas completed his law studies and worked as a lawyer until his death in 1999.

A chance meeting with Alejandro Jodorowsky in a backstreet bar in Mexico City inspired the psycho-magician to create the 1989 film Santa Sangre, based loosely on Cárdenas's life.



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