The Police Investigative Unit announced the arrest of four suspects they believed participated in burning a baby alive as part of a ritual. The suspects were members of an end-of-the-world sect, and the baby was burned, because the leader believed the child was the antichrist that would lead to the end of the world.
The sacrifice occurred on Nov. 21 in Colliguay, a town near the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, the Associated Press reports. The baby was just three days old at the time it was burned alive, and the child’s mother, Natalia Guerra, reportedly agreed to the sacrifice and was among the four individuals arrested.
“The baby was naked. They strapped tape around her mouth to keep her from screaming," Miguel Ampuero, of the police investigative unit, or PDI, said. "Then they placed her on a board. After calling on the spirits, they threw her on the bonfire alive.”
The sect, led by Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, 36, was formed in 2005 and had 12 members, AP notes. Castillo Gaete remains at large as the PDI continue its investigation. Gaete is believed to be in Peru to buy a hallucinogenic drug brew called ayahuasca, made from shrubs and vines found in the jungle.
Castillo Gaete believed he was a god and the world was going to end on Dec. 21, 2012, BBC reports. It is believed that Castillo Gaete had a sexual relationship with each female sect member and could have been the baby’s father, convincing Guerra to give up her baby for the sacrificial ritual. The baby was born in a hospital but was never officially registered prior to the ritual.
Ampuero noted each of the 12 members of the sect graduated from college and were working professionals. According to Ampuero, the members of the sect include a veterinarian, filmmaker and flight attendant.