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Police suspect cemetery animal sacrifices

Oct. 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM   |   Comments

VINELAND, N.J., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Police investigating the discovery of mutilated animals at a New Jersey cemetery say they suspect they might be ritualistic animal sacrifices.

Police in Vineland said a cemetery caretaker told them he found a severed pig's head in a plastic bag near a grave site Oct. 18 and disposed of it in a trash bin as he had done with other animal parts he'd found during the summer, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

Caretaker Doug Riley of the Sacred Heart Cemetery told police he'd also picked up mice with their heads severed and the headless bodies of crows buried in the grass, always on or near graves.

Bev Greco, executive director of the Cumberland County SPCA, said the incidents were consistent others seen in elsewhere in the county in recent years.

"We have seen these things off and on since, I would say, back in 2001 or so," she said.

Greco said the incidents may be connected with Santeria, "a complicated religious rite with origins in the Caribbean and Africa."

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