In the hill town of Colliguay, Chile, a newborn was thrown into a bonfire in a November "healing ritual," because the sect's alleged leader, Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, said the child was the "anitchrist."
Gaete, also known as "Antares from the Light," considered himself to be a god and believed the world was going to end on 21 December 2012, authorities say. Gaete had sexual relations with all women in the religious sect, according to investigators, and he is thought to be the father of the murdered infant.
"The baby was naked. They gagged around her mouth to keep her from screaming. Then they strapped her to a board. After summoning the spirits, they threw her on the bonfire alive,'' vice-chief of the Chilean Investigative Police told reporters.
Everyone in the sect reportedly had a university degree, and most held professional jobs. Members reportedly consumed ayahuasca, an hallucinogenic brew used in rituals for centuries by indigenous peoples in South America.
BBC News reports that those arrested include the mother of the child. Gaete, 36, has been on the run since February.