NEWARK, N.J. — A 61-year-old woman accused of being a high priestess in the Palo Mayombe religious cult was convicted Monday of stealing human remains from cemeteries.
Miriam Mirabal, of Newark, was found guilty of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and burglary.
Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Dean Maglione said Mirabal ordered the theft of Emily and Richard Jenkinson’s remains on December 17, 2001, from the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.
She then ordered the theft of Joseph Rovis’ remains on January 23, 2002 from the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, also in Newark.
The remains of Richard Jenkinson and four other individual human remains were recovered in August 2002, from a botanica owned and operated by co-defendant Oscar Cruz.
Maglione said Mirabal stole the human remains for the purpose of practicing Palo Mayombe, rites in which human remains are placed into cauldrons so that practitioners can call down the spirits of the dead to cast misfortune on others.
Cruz was previously convicted for receiving stolen property. The remains included two skulls and other bones.
Cruz will be sentenced on May 7; Mirabal is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.