Pasadena: Human remains found in a backyard
Human remains have been found in the backyard of a Californian home where the resident reportedly practised Santeria. The first official reports of the human bone found in Pasadena in the religious shrine indicate, that they were part of Santeria Practices, however, home and expert opinions confirm, that the altar in the courtyard is dedicated to Santa Muerte.
Police are currently investigating the discovery of a skull and other human bones
While Pasadena authorities try to identify who the human remains belong to. The neighbors across from the house where the altar was discovered said the inhabitants are a Mexican couple, with two children, who are dedicated to performing “spiritual works and witchcraft.”
One of the neighbors (who asked that his name not be used), said one of her friends paid the couple over a hundred dollars with the goal to avoid being fired from her job via the religious ritual.
My friend said, many people would come and go on a regular basis, entering the house at all strange hours… sometimes, they would smell incense and even heard screaming. I think the police found it because someone put their finger in one of the statuettes,” said the neighbor.
According to La Opinión, they tried to get a statement from the residents of the house, which is located in the 800 block of Oakland Avenue, California, which was raided by police last weekend. A young woman answered the door but said they are not giving statements. The residence is the only one of the entire block that has a surveillance camera, located at the main entrance. They have three images of Santa Muerte-white, black and red, located on the patio.
“On TV, they said it was Santeria, which is not true because there were Santos (saints). In addition, they are Mexican, and have seen the altars of Santeria which of course don’t have Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde, as they are considered the saints of drug traffickers,” said another neighbor.
Yesterday, both neighbors were just a few meters away from the house, comparing their experiences. They agree that unlike other neighbors who have decades living in this area, this family had only been in the neigborhood for a couple of years and as a general rule, keep their distance.
“I do not think it’s good to do the work of witchcraft, though I’ve seen and I know, that in some cases it works. I would not pay for such activity because I work, I fear what they might do. In addition I believe in God and trust in him,” said a women.
The Sergeant Rojas, from Pasadena Police is in charge of investigating whose remains were found at the altar belong to. She was not available for comment on the investigation or the possible charges that housing residents may face.
The BBC notes that Santeria is an an Afro-Caribbean religion, based on Yoruba beliefs. There are a few public buildings devoted to the faith, but practitioners often construct altars in their homes, upon which to practice rituals. Animal sacrifice is central to the religion. It is a constitutional right for Santeria worshippers to kill animals for sacrifice, an act performed for life events and initiation into the faith.
Gabriela Zapata, professor at University of Southern California, who has studied Santeria rituals, and will take a group of students to Cuba this summer, said that, Santeria voodoo rituals mixed with Catholicism in Haiti, while in the rituals of the Santa Muerte Mexican beliefs are mixed with Catholicism.
Zapata said the Santa Muerte has become popular in the drug culture and people with a criminal nexus, who use it for their safety.
“In any book I’ve read about the Santa Muerte I’ve never seen anything regarding protection for drug traffickers, but that’s how it is being used,” said Zapata.
It is estimated that in Mexico there are about 7 million believers in “the white girl” or “Sister White” as it is popularly known and devotion has spread among Mexicans in the United States.
Last year, the deaths of two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman were believed to be linked to Santa Muerte sacrifices, according to the Associated Press.