San Lucas Prison’s most notorious attraction is a mural inked in human blood. The blood of an abused and murdered female prison employee. Drawn on the wall of a medium security prison cell, the infamous “Woman in the Red Bikini” shows an attractive woman dressed in a red bikini. Today, the bikini is scuffed and scarred from age and the tourists who chipped away pieces for a macabre souvenir.
The “Woman in the Red Bikini’s” story is violent and brutal and readers preferring to avoid the tragic details should skip to the link below. Sometime in the 1960s (or 1970s) a prisoner escaped from this medium security cell, found a female employee who worked in the commissary, and raped her. Sadly, her fatal ordeal had just begun. Other prisoners escaped from the cell and by the time it was done, she had been raped by 75 men then murdered. At some point the men cut off her breasts, removed her liver and took them to the cell’s resident artist. He mixed her blood with paint and created the “Woman in the Red Bikini.”
The same inmate’s work adorns other walls in the rectangular cell. There’s a painting of the Brazilian soccer great Pele and another of a woman in a striped bikini in the cell’s former shower. (We won’t get into what assistance that image provided inmates.) One of the artist’s consistently missing features are articulated fingers. His subject’s hands look like amorphous blobs or childish mittens. Prison lore says he was frustrated and embarrassed by his artistic limits but still creative when it came to mixing paint.
Below is a virtual tour of the medium security cell. Be sure to click on the full-screen button and the embedded hot-spots for detailed images.