Human sacrifices suspected along Mexico border

// World | Human sacrifices suspected along Mexico border
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Rodrigo Abd  /  AP
Eight people have been arrested for allegedly killing two boys and a woman in ritual sacrifices by the cult of La Santa Muerte, or Saint Death.
By
updated 4/1/2012 4:48:47 PM ET 2012-04-01T20:48:47

NACOZARI, Mexico — It was a family people took pity on, one the government and church helped with free food, used clothes, and farm animals. The men were known as trash pickers. Some of the women were suspected of prostitution.

Mexican prosecutors are investigating the poor family living in shacks outside a small town near the U.S. border as alleged members of a cult that sacrificed two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman to Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, a figure adored mostly by outlaws but whose popularity is growing across Mexico and among Hispanics in the United States.

The killings have shocked the copper mining village of Nacozari, on the edge of the Sierra Madre, and may be the first ritual sacrifices linked to the popular saint condemned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Authorities say the throats and the wrists of the victims were cut with knives and axes, and their blood was spread on a Santa Muerte altar. Their bodies were then buried near the shacks where the alleged cult members lived.

"We never knew they were part of a Santa Muerte cult," said Jorge Sanchez Castillo, a 54-year-old hotel owner who has a corn field next to the house of the woman believed to lead the group. "This has been tragic for all of us."

Nacozari has been spared the grisly violence of drug cartels fighting for lucrative corridors along the U.S.-Mexico border, said police chief Jose Miguel Espinoza.

"It was a peaceful town. We'd never seen such violence," he said.

When a 10-year-old boy went missing in July 2010, his mother and her boyfriend told police that acquaintances had seen him begging in the streets of nearby Agua Prieta across the border from Douglas, Arizona, and that they would go find him, said Espinoza.

"We had no reason to suspect it was a homicide," he said.

A second 10-year-old boy went missing in early March, prompting Sonora state's missing persons unit to send agents to Nacozari, said the police chief. That boy's mother and her boyfriend reported it to state authorities, who discovered weeks later that the two boys knew people in common.

The missing boy Martin Rios was the son of the ex-girlfriend of a man named Eduardo Sanchez. The second boy, Jesus Martinez, was the step-grandson of Eduardo Sanchez's new girlfriend Silvia Meraz.

    1. Audio experts: Screams were not Zimmerman's
    2. Santorum slams Romney, Romney raps Obama
    3. Forget the house, buy the entire town
    4. Was 15-year-old's death a result of bullying?
    5. About-face for Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt election
    6. Egypt: Inside the pharaoh's secret tunnels
    7. New twists emerge in Powell case

The police chief said both boys would often visit Meraz's home in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of the town of 11,500.

Espinoza said his officers suspected the house was being used for prostitution after seeing different men from out of town visiting, but never gathered enough evidence to arrest anyone.

Agents on Wednesday unearthed the body of the boy Jesus Martinez buried in the dirt floor in the bedroom of one of the Meraz daughters. They then began arresting family members, who led them to what agents believe are the remains of the other boy, as well as the grave of 55-year-old Cleotilde Romero, a close friend of Meraz who disappeared in 2009.

Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for the Sonora Attorney General's Office, said the 44-year-old Meraz, who police suspect was the cult leader, and seven people related to her, were detained pending further investigation: her boyfriend Eduardo Sanchez, father, son, three daughters and a daughter-in-law. No formal charges have been filed pending further investigation.

"They thought that by offering the blood, they would be protected for some time," Larrinaga said. "According to them, Santa Muerte was going to tell them where the money was. They all identify themselves as fanatic followers of Santa Muerte."

R. Andrew Chesnut, chairman of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the book "Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint," said there have only been unconfirmed reports of human sacrifices related to the figure in Mexico in recent years.

Chesnut said the 2007 shooting deaths of three men appeared to be related to Santa Muerte because the bodies were abandoned at a shrine to the figure outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo. But they showed no signs of being sacrificial killings.

He said that although most Santa Muerte devotees consider killing a "Satanic aberration of devotion," and that books about the Santa Muerte don't mention human sacrifice, some followers are extreme.

"With no clerical authority to stop them, some practitioners engage in aberrant and even abhorrent rituals," Chesnut said.

Police paraded the eight people arrested in the case of the cult killings into the prosecutor's offices in the state capital of Hermosillo on Friday to allow journalists to view and question them, a typical practice in Mexico.

Meraz told reporters she has believed in Santa Muerte for more than two years.

"Santa Muerte was going to offer us money," Meraz said.

Asked if she thought she had received anything, she answered with a profanity, her voice breaking: "What can she give you? Nothing."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria opens up on $9.3m arms deal

President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday for the first time spoke on the controversial $9.3m cash allegedly smuggled into ...

Pastor E.Adeboye Says Abortion Is Okay If A Doctor Requests It

The GO of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye, says abortion is ungodly and unbiblical. He made his position known via ... Full story

Man Attempts to Commit Suicide In Synagogue Church To Prove T.B Joshua Is Not Fake Video

The spokesman of Emmanuel TV, the media outfit of the Synagogue Church of all Nations, Ken Emeakayi, revealed on Channels TV's Sunrise Daily programme today ... Full story

TB Joshua To Be Prosecuted In Lagos

The Lagos State Government has set up a coroner of inquest for the purpose of investigating the cause of the September 12 Synagogue Church of ...

Nigerian oil tycoon's wife sends warning to Porsha Williams, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star

More details have come out on the rumor that "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Porsha Williams is dating a married man. On Saturday, September ... Full story

Adokiye Kyrian - Buy my mum a private jet and eat my forbidding fruit

Sexy, Imo State-born singer, Adokiye Kyrian, once created a media storm when she disclosed that she is still 'untouched' s*xually. The talented music act who calls ... Full story

Cardinal Okogie Declares Oritsejafor Is Finished And CAN Is Damaged

In perhaps the most stinging criticism of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), by a past leader of the body, the former ...

TB Joshua refutes allegations that he performs fake miracles

The founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Temitope Joshua, has refuted allegations that he performs fake miracles. The pastor has come under severe criticisms ...

Tony Tetuila Criticized For Campaigning With Blonde Hair

Few days ago, music artiste, Tony Tetuila attracted criticism when his campaign poster showed him still flaunting his blonde hair when campaigning for a political ...

Nollywood Actor Kenneth Okonkwo Declares Political Intentions

This is becoming more serious than we thought. Another entertainer has declared intention to delve into politics. Veteran Nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo said declared his intentions ...

Jeffrey Okafor, Murder Suspect Arrested In Nigeria 5 Years After Fleeing From UK

A man wanted in connection with the murder of a promising young rapper who was stabbed to death outside a nightclub in south London has ... Full story

Comment on: Human sacrifices suspected along Mexico border

Rate this article

0

Featured author

Paula Obiewkwe

Breaking News

Tony Tetuila Bows To Pressure, Changes Campaign Poster

Few days ago, ace music artiste and former member of the defunct Remedies group, Tony Tetuila was under severe criticism for campaigning with his blonde ...

Yoruba Movie Producers Mind Your Translations

Nollywood has come to stay and waxing stronger as the day goes by to the extent that other countries want to associate with the industry ...

Ebay to split off PayPal business

The online auction site eBay is planning to split off its payments system PayPal into a separate company. It expects to do that in the second ...

Nothing Gives Me Joy Like the Way I Abused The Police…………Dencia

Controversial singer and Whitenicious CEO, Dencia, is happy with herself after rendering insults of the United Sates police for issuing her a ticket.According the Dencia, ...

Funke Akindele Rocks Ankara on Runway

Nollywood actresses, Funke Akindele, Dakore, singer, Waje and on-air-personality, Toke Makinwa, were some of the celebrities that graced the TW magazine @ 7 event which ...

Jackie Appiah, John Dumelo Not Involved In Fraudulent Act As Alleged

Reports went viral in Nigeria that Ghanaian movie stars John Dumelo and Jackie Appiah may be in a fraudulent mess following the 2014 World -Cup ...

Majid Michel Is the Best Actor in Africa………..Stella Damasus

Do you have a story/gist for publication? Please email it to story@nigeriafilms.com tina | 9/29/2014 6:15:51 PM Stella, you are looking for every opportunity to be relevant ...

Man Gets Hope from a Woman’s First Kiss ……….Actress, Dayo Amusa

Nollywood actress, Dayo Amusa, is back again with her words of wisdom which she uses to appeal to her fans emotion of living a good ...

Ha!!! See Doris Simeon’s Hair Do To The Movie Premier of Oct 1

Nollywood actress, Doris Simeon, has decided to show that without the fixing of long hairs and the all-back braiding, she could actually make people count ...

How Credible is MTN Project Fame Season 7.0?

Reality shows are actually meant to bring out the best and the in-built talent in a person who aspire to achieve a particular breakthrough in ...