Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Bolivia police investigated reports Monday that a missing eight-year-old child might have been offered as a human sacrifice during a ritual.
The child disappeared in a western part of Bolivia where there's widespread mining.
"We will not tolerate more acts of violence and child sacrifice," he said. "The Bolivian state would use resources to the extreme to prevent this from remaining unpunished, and to avoid what presumably happened in Cosnipata from happening again."
La Razon reported La Paz police official Gaby Coca said the crime is being investigated as human trafficking -- unless the child is found dead. La Razon identified the child as Jhoel Condori Aliaga and reported the mother reported him missing on Sept. 14.
A witness told the boy's mother he was "offered" as a sacrifice to a mine in a ritual, La Razon reported.
Mother Sonia Aliaga said her son disappeared as he walked alone near the main square of Aucapata to check if transportation for the family had arrived.
Sacrifices to appease mountains that are drilled for resources have occurred for centuries in some regions of the Andes. In most cases, llamas are sacrificed -- but it's rumored some Andes inhabitants believe only humans can appease the mountain spirits, that would otherwise react with anger and cause slides and other disasters that would kill miners.
Several remains from child sacrifices have been found from ancient times in areas, including Peru. National Geographic reported in April the finding of a sacrifice involving some 140 children that occurred in the Peruvian Andes 500 years ago.
Bolivian officials are making efforts to prevent crimes against children. In 2017, there were 84 cases of child homicides and 1,300 rapes against minors, Arce said during the news conference.