Mexicans are very familiar with La Diana Cazadora, as it's known in Spanish. A stone monument of the Roman goddess, nude, long-haired and holding a bow, stands on Mexico City's Reforma Avenue, a major thoroughfare. A replica was erected in Ciudad Juarez.
According to the Chihuahua state attorney's office, the unidentified woman, with either hair dyed blond or wearing a blond wig, shot and killed a city bus driver identified as Jose Roberto Flores Carrera, 45, on August 28. He was shot in the head several times.
Another bus driver, Fredy Zarate Morales, 32, was killed the next day, via shoots to the back of his head. In both cases, officials say, "Diana, the Hunter" boarded the buses and shot the drivers point blank.
After the second shooting, several media outlets in Ciudad Juarez reported receiving an e-mail from a sender claiming to be the killer. In the e-mail, she calls herself "Diana, the Hunter of Drivers."
She reportedly says in the e-mails that her motive is retaliation against bus drivers who have raped vulnerable women, especially those who work in the "maquiladoras," or foreign assembly plants (mainly American) on the Mexican side of the border.
"I'm an instrument that will avenge [the attacks against] several women," the e-mail is reported to say. "We seem weak to society, but we're truly not. We're courageous and, if they don't show respect to us, we will make them respect us by our own means. We women of Juarez are strong."
The Chihuahua state attorney's office released a sketch of the suspect Wednesday and asked for the public's help to catch her.
"The sketch was done after interviewing more than 20 people who witnessed the homicides and who gave us very valuable information for this investigation," authorities said in a statement.
The slayings have terrorized many bus drivers, especially those operating Route 4, also known as the Yellow Route, which serves main thoroughfares and downtown Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.5 million located across the border from El Paso, Texas. The No 4 bus always enjoyed a certain reputation. Wending its way west from Ciudad Juárez's dilapidated centre to a lower-middle class suburb, through nondescript roads and strip malls, this was always a quiet journey in an unquiet city.
Thirty drivers normally cover the route, but many have decided not to show up for work since the second slaying. Julian Vazquez, a bus driver on the same route, is one of those still behind the wheel, although he admits he's afraid.
Ciudad Juarez gained international notoriety in the late 1990s and early 2000s after a wave of slayings involving women. The victims, mainly young, single women, would disappear, their bodies later found in shallow graves in desert areas around the arid city. According to an Amnesty International report, 370 young women and girl were killed in Ciudad Juarez between 1993 and 2005. Most of the slayings remain unsolved.
The sculpture of Diana the Huntress, whose real name is "The Flechadora of the North Star" (La flechadora de las estrellas del norte) began its history in 1942, when then-President of Mexico, Manuel Avila Camacho, through the mayor of Mexico City, Javier Rojo Gomez, began a program of beautification of the city that included the creation of several monumental fountains representative roundabouts or corners.
The architect Vicente Mendiola and sculptor Juan Olaguíbel , were commissioned to undertake the construction of one of these sources for a gazebo that was located on the Paseo de la Reforma near the entrance to Chapultepec Park . The theme chosen was that of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, but this source, that goddess, instead of hunting with his bow beasts in the woods, now Flecharía the Stars of the northern skies, hence the name of the sculpture.
The identity of who posed for the artist has long been a mystery, until the year 1992 it was revealed that the model was 16 years old, was called Verdayes Helvia Martinez (now widow of Jorge Diaz Serrano ) and worked for evenings as a secretary in the offices of Petroleos Mexicanos , in an office led by Vicente Mendiola , friend of the sculptor. It was there that he suggested she modeled for the sculpture. She accepted and the sculpture was made from April to September 1942, the month in which was finally held in bronze casting of it. During that time, Martinez Verdayes Helvia posed nude for the sculptor without receiving other pay than vanity to see his body immortalized in one of the most beautiful avenues in the city. However, to avoid scandal, she asked to keep his identity anonymous, as declared later in interviews to Channel 22 and the magazine Macrópolis in June 1992, plus she was the model of the source of Petroleos 10 years later, in 1952.
La flechadora de las estrellas del norte was opened on October 10, 1942 and since that time he won the affection of the people, who began to call "Diana the Huntress," but since that time also received criticism from more ultraconservative sectors of Mexican society at the time, and a year later the League of Decency, after a series of protests that included placing fabric underwear on sculpture, got him placed Juan Olaguíbel underpants bronze to his work. However, the artist other times providing more freedom-only fixed it with three spot welds in waiting to remove later.
Over time, the mentality of Mexican society was transformed and, to seize the holding Mexico Olympics in 1968, the then ruler Alfonso Corona del Rosal, in response to a request from John Olaguíbel, decided to withdraw the bronze loincloth sculpture, and so after 25 years, Diana returned to shine its original beauty in 1967. However, to accomplish this, the statue suffered some damage. To remedy the situation, it was decided melt a flawless new piece to occupy that place, while that was damaged was sold by the artist to the regent to prevent the piece was destroyed. That piece was donated by political Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo, his hometown, where he remained from 1970.
Statues of Diana the Huntress are in various locations throughout Mexico, such as this one above from Acapulco de Juárez.