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A.K.A.: "The poisoner of Montserrat"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: February-March 1979
Date of arrest: April 27, 1979
Date of birth: May 20, 1930
Victims profile: Nilda Gamba / Lelia Formisano de Ayala / Carmen Zulema del Giorgio de Venturini (her cousin)
Method of murder: Poisoning (cyanide)
Location: Corrientes, Argentina
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on June 28, 1985. Released on November 20, 1995
photo gallery

Yiya Murano

By Marta Morales Urcola

Bernardina Maria Mercedes Aponte Murano Bolla (May 20, 1930) better known as Yiya Murano (the poisoner of Montserrat) is an Argentine murderer and swindler. Convicted of three murders, was imprisoned for sixteen years.


She showed herself as a cultured and wealthy person, though she was lacked of education and
had many financial problems. She used to spend money she didn't have to buy jewelry and
imported clothes.


In March 24, 1979, Carmen Zulema del Giorgio de Venturini, Murano's cousin, suffered a fall and died in the stairs of a building in Hipólito Yrigoyen street where she lived. Doctors diagnosed her a heart attack.

Zulema's daughter, Diana María Venturini, noticed that between her mother belonging, a promissory note for 20 million pesos was missing. The building's doorman said that while Mrs. Venturini was dying inside the building, Mrs. Murano had entered the house to visit her, carrying a mysterious package (there was later known that there were corn flour petite fourscookies in it, very common in Argentina), and had asked in the most natural way for some copy of her cousin's apartment keys, she excused the meddling saying "I need her notebook to call her family". She had entered the house and then came out quickly with some papers and a small bottle. She grumbled out loud "Oh my God, this is the third friend of mine dying in a short time."

Another autopsy was carried out. Proficients found out cyanide in the corpse, investigators linked poison with the supposed small bottle mentioned by the attendant. So, it was known that Nilda Gamba, a neighbor of Yiya, had died in February 10, 1979. A few days later, a heart attack killed Lelia Formisano de Ayala, another friend of Yiya. Murano owed them money and both of their corpses presented signs of cyanide poisoning. The poison was camouflaged inside the corn flour cookies.

Arrest and sentence

In April 1979, police arrested Mrs. Murano at her home, in México street. In 1980, she was found unconscious in the penal she was detained. After that, she had a lung removed. In June 1982, judge Ángel Mercado absolved her from all charges and set her free. In 1985, in the middle of the trial against generals of the Military's Junta that had governed the country from 1976 to 1982, Yiya had been almost forgotten, until she was convicted. She insisted in her innocence: "I never invited anybody to eat." Were her words. Her sentenced was reduced and thanks to the famous "two by one" law, she was released from prison after 16 years. It was later known that the judges that had interceded in her early released, had received a box of chocolate as a sign of gratitude. If somebody tried them, we don't know. Her husband had died; her son wrote a book defaming her. In 1998, she declared herself innocent in front of a great audience in Mirtha Legrand tv show.

Yiya is remembered with affection. Her joker and simple grandma image still confuses people, that, frecuently fantasizes with her innocence.


She had a short relationship with ex president Arturo Frondizi. "Too short," she said. Argentinian author Marisa Grinstein included her in her book "Deathly Women". Her case was named "Yiya Murano, friend". In 2006, Canal 13's (tv channel) Deathly Women show, sort of honored her in the episode, recreating the scenes. At the end of the episode, the real Yiya Murano is showed adding a comment about it and defending her supposed innocence.

In the second season of Mexican adaptation, there is a episode recreating the case, called "Tita Garza, Fraudster".

In 2008, a new complaint was reported against Yiya, this time by her stepdaughter, who said that her stepmother had tried to poison her by putting poison in a pasta's plate. This was not proven. During the same year, she was invited to Mirtha Legrand's show to have some lunch, this had a lot of repercussion since Yiya gave her, in camera, a tray with small cakes. After doubting for the entire show, Mirtha finally ate one and nothing happened to her. The situation was carried with a lot of humor, though she again insisted in her innocence.

In the last years she lived in the port suburb La Boca. And currently lives in a geriatric residence. Sometimes she talks for interviews for the television when they make special programs commemorating her case.

Wikipedia en Español

Marta Morales Urcola -



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