Miami skull may have been used in ritual

April 21, 2012 at 5:26 PM

MIAMI, April 21 (UPI) -- A human skull found with a cauldron in a Northwest Miami field may have been used in an Afro-Caribbean ritual, a police officer said.

A crew from WSVN-TV doing a story on illegal horse slaughtering discovered the skull last week, The Miami Herald reported. The field was formerly used for slaughtering.

Aventura Police Officer Nelson Reyes said the cauldron and 21 sticks suggest the skull was used in a Palo Mayombe ritual. He described Palo Mayombe as an Afro-Caribbean religion with its origins in the Congo that may also be practiced by practitioners of Santeria.

Reyes said he found items associated with both Santeria and Palo Mayombe while studying pictures of the field.

"Palo Mayombe uses the spirits of the dead to do their bidding here on Earth," said Reyes, who said it can be similar to keeping a relative's ashes on a mantel and asking the relative for help.

Detectives are tracing the skull, Reyes said. If the person who owned it acquired it legally, it will be returned, and if not, charges could be filed.

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