Eight people have been arrested for allegedly killing two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman in ritual sacrifices by the cult of La Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, prosecutors in northern Mexico said Friday.
Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors, said the victims’ blood was poured around an altar to the saint, which is depicted as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes.
The grisly slayings recalled the notorious “narco-satanicos” killings of the 1980s, when 15 bodies, many of them with signs of ritual sacrifice, were unearthed at a ranch outside the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.
While Saint Death has become the focus of a cult among drug traffickers and criminals in Mexico in recent years, there have been no confirmed cases of human sacrifices in Mexico to the scary-looking saint, which is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Worshippers usually offer candy, cigarettes and incense to the skeleton-statue.
Larrinaga said the first of the three victims was apparently killed in 2009, the second in 2010 and the latest earlier this month. Investigations indicate their throats were slit, they had cuts on their wrists and their blood was poured around an altar to the saint, he said.
“The ritual was held at nighttime, they lit candles,” Larrinaga said. “They sliced open the victims’ veins and, while they were still alive, they waited for them to bleed to death and collected the blood in a container.” [...]
The “narco-satanicos” killings of the 1980s were committed by a cult of drug traffickers who believed that ritual sacrifices would shield them from police. [...]
The narco-satanicos have no connection to the Saint Death cult, which gained widespread popularity around the 2000, although the two share some similarities.