A man on a casual stroll to a local coffee shop in midtown Sacramento on July 20, 2015, ended his journey by stumbling upon the scene of an animal sacrifice, which could possibly be related to a horrific satanic-like ritual in the mysterious religion of Santeria. According to local authorities, this is just the latest incident in a string of similar events of animal beheadings and disgusting mutilations that have happened around the city.
In the latest incident, the rotting carcass of a decapitated brown chicken was found lying on the light railroad tracks, “between Q and S streets just east of 19th Street,” according to police. Along with the headless fowl were three brown paper grocery bags, one of which had a few blood-covered one dollar bills sticking out of it. Also, the man found what he said to be the body of a guinea hen in another bag.
This incident is the 15th of its kind since 2014. Police officials have discovered bowls of pigeon heads, dead birds, and decapitated livestock during the string of odd incidents. Investigators have also found money and lighted candles around the dead animals at the crime scenes.
The string of seemingly possibly Santeria-inspired satanic animal killings began late last year after a gruesome discovery of a cow’s head in Reichmuth Park in Sacramento. Just a few days later, another cow’s head was found at Garcia Bend Park.
On March 4, a Sacramento reporter found another area near train tracks that was littered with mutilated chickens in the city, the third finding that week. Tuesday, the night before, city police officers reported discovering two bags in the Midtown area, one containing a beheaded rabbit along with unlit candles and a second with two decapitated chickens with their feet hacked off.
In another case, six decomposing, decapitated goats were found by a passerby on a bike trail in Sacramento. Four baby goats and two adult goats were stuffed into bags and dumped near the intersection of Clair Avenue and Sully Street in Midtown, according to investigators.
Santeria is a unification of many opposing religious beliefs that came from those in the throes of the slave trade in Cuba centuries ago. Meaning “Way of the Saints,” Santeria is an Afro-Caribbean-based religion founded on the teachings of Youruba, which guides the believer to become more enlightened and engage in building lasting relationships between humans and, “powerful, but mortal, spirits, called Orishas.” Orishas are known as the human form of Olodumare, the God to whom worshipers of Santeria pray.
Miguel De La Torre, author of the book Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America, stated when an animal is killed in this sort of fashion and is surrounded by objects likes candles and money, people first think that it is from offerings to the gods of Santeria. However, “It could be a multitude of things,” he said.
The author explained that finding the animal sacrifices near railroad tracks is actually fairly common when practicing Santeria. Worshipers leave offerings near railroad tracks and heavy machinery to honor Ogun, Santeria’s god of war and metals. “An animal offering is the most powerful offering because it’s the spilling of blood,” De La Torre insisted.
Authorities have been stumped in their quest to find the origin of the odd ritualistic animal killings. Currently, a $10,000 reward is now being offered to anyone who may have information leading to the identification of a suspect in the matter.
The possibly Santeria-inspired satanic animal killings have left the residents of Sacramento on edge. Criminologists believe animals abuse is a strong precursor to violence against humans. Therefore, authorities are urging the public to help them catch the mysterious miscreants.
By Alex Lemieux
The Sacramento Bee: Another livestock killing discovered in Midtown Sacramento
The Sacramento Bee: Public Must Help Solve Animal Killings
Huffington Post: Mutilated Animals Found In Sacramento
New York Daily News: 6 headless goats found near California bike trail in string of animal decapitations
Buzzfeed: Decapitated Animals Keep Showing Up In Sacramento And No One Knows Why
Feature Photo Courtesy of Emiana’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of El Cobrador’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Steve Schlackman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License