Cops: 5 Dead Americans Stolen for Arcane Religion

Amador Medina was apparently practicing Santeria
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2015 6:30 PM CST
Cops: Priest Stole 5 Dead Bodies for 'Medicine'
   (Hartford Police)

Have skeletal remains lying around at home? Yeah, that's a bit of a problem—as Amador Medina learned when police accused him of keeping five disinterred bodies at his Hartford, Conn., apartment. Medina, 32, allegedly paid someone to dig up the three adults and two children for use in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, the Hartford Courant reports. According to police, Medina is a Santeria priest who arranged the bodies into shrines with candles and statues. Some bodies were taken apart while others were mostly whole, kept in trash bags with holes ripped to show the skulls. Seems they were removed earlier this year from a mausoleum in Worcester, Mass., where they'd been for around 71 years, the Republican reports. No relatives have yet been found.

"The age of the deceased, as well as how long they have been deceased, is relevant in how they use those remains in their medicinal value" in Santeria, a Hartford police deputy tells NBC Los Angeles. But Imna Arroyo, a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, tells WTNH that the Medina case casts "a very negative light" on Santeria. She says the religion, which blends West African and Catholic beliefs, does use chickens during ceremonies—but only Medina can explain the use of human bodies. Medina will be charged with five counts of conspiracy to disinter bodies, disinterment of bodies, and accessory to breaking and entering with felony intent. (Read more mausoleum stories.)

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