US faith healers in custody after patient dies

AFP, Oct. 31, 2002

Two faith healers in the US state of California were behind bars after one of their patients died following treatment for a rash, police said.

Los Angeles police said Reina Chaverria, 48, and 28-year-old Margarita Montes were arrested and booked Wednesday for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of their patient on Monday.

Each faith healer was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail, said Los Angeles police lieutenant Horace Frank. Authorities are now seeking other possible victims of the suspects, he added.

The two were picked up after a friend of the victim flagged down a police car near the faith healers’ Los Angeles-area base on Monday saying that 54-year-old Roberto Caceres needed medical help.

“The officers discovered Caceres to be unresponsive, and a rescue ambulance was summoned,” Frank said, adding that the victim later died in hospital.

“The cause of the death has not yet been determined. However, it is believed that Caceres was … receiving treatment from a healer. He began convulsing after being administered an injection,” he said.

Results of an autopsy on Caceres’ body were not yet available and it was unknown what the alleged injection may have contained, another police spokesman told AFP.

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This post was last updated: Dec. 16, 2016