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

South African Politician Says They Are Attacking Nigerian Men For Snatching Their Wives

South African politician, Makashule Gana, has said some of his compatriots have complained to him that they are angry with Nigerians and other immigrants because ... Full story

Temitope Adebamiro, 35 Year Old Nigerian In The US, Stabs Cheating Husband To Death

A 35-year-old Nigerian woman has been charged with killing her husband, who she claimed abused and cheated on her with several women including her sister ... Full story

Central Bank of Nigeria Asks Banks To Publish The Names Of Debtors By The End Of The Month

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to publish the list of  borrowers whose debts have remained non-performing in ... Full story

Domitilla Star Anne Njemanze's Marriage To Young Lover Collapses 8 Months After Wedding

There are insinuations that Domitilla star, Anne Njemanze's marriage to younger lover, Silver Ojieson, crumbled barely eight months after the union was contracted.Reports shows that ... Full story

SAD: Albinos In East Africa Are Hunted For Their Body Parts For Rituals

The albinos who are born in East Africa are becoming more and more of an endangered specie as they are been hunted for their skin ... Full story

Outgoing Benue Governor, Donates 8 SUVs To Incoming Governor

The outgoing governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, on Thursday donated eight new Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicles to the state governor-elect, Samuel Ortom, his ... Full story

Xenophobia Attacks: Gani Adams, Visits South Africa

The National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, on Thursday visited the Nigerian Embassy in South Africa in support of Nigerians affected by ... Full story

Ten Policemen Detained By Army For Refusing To Wear Uniforms

Ten counter-terrorism police officers attached to the Nigeria army peacekeeping forward operation base in Abuja are currently unlawfully detained at a military barrack in Gwagwalada, ... Full story

Nigerian Troops Get Mandate To Catch Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau Alive

Troops have got another mandate to catch Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau alive. Shekau is believed to have relocated from his bunker before the troops reclaimed ...

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, Named As One Of Seven Outstanding Personalities Worldwide

A global conflict prevention organisation, International Crisis Group, has named the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, as one of seven outstanding personalities worldwide, to ...

Bose Oladimeji: Impecunious Men Have No Place In My Heart

Bose Oladimeji is beginning to get all the attention in the Yoruba film industry, for both her talent and good looks. But Bose, from Kwara ... Full story

Comment on: Human sacrifices suspected along Mexico border

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Isn’t She Lovely? Actress Stella Damasus Is DOPE

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Actress Stella Damasus Is Stunningly Beautiful.She want you guys to remember that shes still one of the cutest, with or without ...

Ramsey Nouah Returns To School

Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah will be the guest speaker at a popular higher institution in Lagos on the platform of 'Meet The Artiste' which is designed ...

Baby Shower: Uche Jumbo Rock Baby Bump (Photo)

Nollywood actress and movie producer, Uche Jombo is currently in the United States of America to give birth to her baby and get the best ...

Photos: Celebrities Storm Ini Edo's 33 Bash

Birthday Girl, Ini Edo, had celebrated her birthday recently and many Nollywood celebrities came out to enjoy themselves with the actress. Looking ever young, the 33 ...

Funke Akindele And Her Banging Legs (Pictures)

With an easy smile and engaging personality, Funke Akindele, is a delight to Nollywood observers and critics as she has brought smiles to the faces ...

I need prayers to marry – Selina Boateng

selina-boatengAfter voting for her to win the Gospel Song of the Year award at the recent VGMAs, the fans of Selina Boateng are being asked ...

video: First Exclusive interview with Nigeria's President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari

Disclaimer: Do not use this forum as a channel to promote hatred, tribalism or any other kind of personal grievances. The administration can delete or ...

The Unhealthy Relationship Between Nigerian Lecturers And Students

For many people, their university period is one of the happiest and life learning lesson of their life. The network that may help reshape your ...

WHO IS 9ICE’S EX-WIFE, TONI PAYNE DATING?

That is one question many celebs in the entertainment industry often ask. This is because since this artist manager walked out of her short-lived celebrity ...

Singer Asa, Shows Off Photo Of Her 'Mystery Man'

Nigerian singer Asa has subtly revealed the identity of her supposed lover on social media. From the picture, it could be easily concluded that her lover ...