The horrific torture and murder of a six year-old Mexican boy by five other children, that prosecutors say is evidence of “social decomposition” and an “absence of values,” is now believed to be linked to a satanic cult.
In Chihuahua, Mexico, Christopher Marquez, 6, had been invited to play a “kidnap game” by five other children – a boy, age 12, two girls of age 13, and two other boys of age 15. As the Daily Mail reported last week, during the “game,” the older children tied up Christopher’s hands and feet, then beat him with a stick. Finally, the alleged murderers stoned and suffocated the young child, then stabbed him in the back and buried him face-down in a hand-dug shallow grave, in which they also dumped some weeds and a dead animal.
According to state prosecutor Sergio Almarez, the five older children admitted to killing Christopher, and that one of the 15 year-old boys suggested that the little boy be killed as a condition of the game. The two 15 year-old boys face criminal charges, but the other three are under 14 – the age of criminal responsibility in Mexico – and will not be tried.
The Daily Mail report indicates Christopher’s body was found after the mother of one of the oldest boys called the police to inform them she discovered her son had participated in the murder. Christopher’s mother reported her little boy was missing, and later added the alleged killers took part – along with their families – in the search for him prior to the body being found.
According to Catholic news outlet Aleteia, Christopher’s murder has now been linked to the cult worship of Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, and not attributed solely to children’s exposure to poverty and violence, or organized crime.
Miguel Pastorino, writing at Aleteia, indicates that the state of Chihuahua in Mexico has one of the highest rates of child homicides in the country.
[T]he accused children venerated Santa Muerte. The neighbors mentioned to Net Noticias that the children in question belong to a criminal gang, so the murder would not have been a case of “let’s pretend to be bad guys.” People living in the area declared to various local media outlets that the children venerate Santa Muerte and were indoctrinated by criminals who made them part of a sectarian cult.
Father Dizán Vázquez, a Catholic priest with expertise on cults in Mexico, reportedly said the case demonstrates elements of a ritual – which is typical of such satanic cults.
“[S]ymbols, sadism, animal sacrifice, child sacrifice, ritual burial, etc.,” writes Pastorino. “Everything indicates that the children learned from others.”
The author reports that authorities in Mexico confirm the positive relationship between the growth of criminal organizations and the cult worship of Santa Muerte.
Another priest and specialist in cults in Mexico, Father Jorge Luiz Zarazúa, reportedly states that devotion to Santa Muerte is often mistaken as one similar to a Catholic saint because it involves ritualistic elements such as the use of altars, flowers, and processions.
The priests who have expertise in the cults say that Mexicans ask for spiritual help when needed from the Catholic saints, but often seek supernatural help when they want revenge or need protection from a crime. In the latter case, they will turn to veneration of Santa Muerte, which, according to Pastorino, is a devotion linked to magic and the occult.
“It is a devotion more closely related to witchcraft and satanism than to popular Catholic piety,” he writes. “According to the latest news regarding the devotion to Santa Muerte, everything indicates that it is a breeding pool of sectarian cults along satanic lines, in which the power of evil gives meaning to their lifestyle and goes hand in hand with crime and the most aberrant practices.”
Pastorino continues that cults abound in areas of extreme crime and poverty because they provide a sense of security to those living in fear in such desperate circumstances. He describes this situation as one in which “life loses its value and the value system is turned upside-down.”
The writer believes Christopher’s horrific death should not be viewed as yet another tragic homicide, but as the “tip of an iceberg” which destroys many people’s lives.
“This subject should be a wake-up call for those who do not see the danger of certain religious beliefs, and particularly of religious cults, in relation to the origin of horrible crimes, perpetrated by people who are submerged in a complex world of beliefs that prepare them to commit atrocities,” Pastorino states. “This case is more scandalous because those who kidnapped, tortured and killed Christopher are children and preadolescents.”