BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP)
Police found a mass grave just south of theMexican border Tuesday containing the bodies of a dozen people who werethe victims of human sacrifice by a satanic cult of drug smugglers,officials said. ``It was horrible,'' Cameron County Sheriff Alex Perez told a newsconference in this border city. ``It was like a human slaughterhouse.''
Mexican federal police arrested four people, said sheriff's Lt.George Gavito. Gavito said the suspects were U.S. and Mexican citizens,but did not identify them further. The dead found by the federal police included 21-year-old Universityof Texas student Mark Kilroy, who vanished during his spring break lastmonth while in the Mexican city of Matamoros, Gavito said. Kilroy apparently was chosen at random by drug smugglers who hopedhuman sacrifices would protect them from harm, Gavito said. He was takenafter the cult members ``were told to pick one Anglo male thatparticular night,'' the lieutenant said.
The cult had been involved in human sacrifices for about nine months,he said, and prayed to the devil ``so the police would not arrest them,so bullets would not kill them and so they could make more money.'' Authorities would not comment on the other victims, and would not saywhether any were U.S. citizens. The 12 bodies were found Tuesday morning in a field about 20 mileswest of Matamoros, along with evidence of voodoo or magic, Gavito said. ``I've been an investigator 15 years and it's one of the worst thingsI've ever seen,'' he said.
Kilroy, a pre-medical student, vanished from a crowded Matamorosstreet shortly after 2 a.m. on March 14 while on a drinking foray with agroup of friends in Matamoros, a city of 180,000 just across the RioGrande from Brownsville. Law officers on both sides of the border were stumped, with no cluesto Kilroy's disappearance despite an intensive search, the questioningof nearly 100 people and a $15,000 reward.
Murder suspect Serafin Garcia related to police what had happened on the night of March 14th. Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, the leader of the satanic cult and drug smuggling operation, had ordered his followers to abduct one of the many "Anglo" students visiting Matamoros during spring break week. The student, Constanzo had explained, had been needed for a "human sacrifice." Kilroy was the unfortunate soul chosen.
As Mark Kilroy had made his way through the crowded Matamoros, Garcia had approached and offered him a ride back to Brownsville. After getting into Garcia's truck, Kilroy was beaten, bound, and driven to the ranch. Twelve hours later, after enduring the tortures of his abductors, Kilroy was killed by a machete chop to the back of his neck. His legs were then cut off at the thighs, and his brain and spine were removed for use in the cult's satanic rituals.
"It was a religion," Garcia explained nonchalantly, as he was paraded with the other suspects before the media by the Mexican police. Altogether, the suspects admitted to 14 killings over a nine-month period. All but three had been chosen at random for human sacrifice, the remaining three apparently killed in retaliation for bungled drug operations. Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox commented: "They believed they had some kind of magical shield to protect themselves from harm or from bullets. And they engaged in human and animal sacrifices to ward off danger."
The 3-foot-deep grave containing Kilroy's body was found afterMexican federal police alerted U.S. officials early Tuesday that theyhad obtained confessions from the suspects, officials said. At least one of the suspects admitted involvement in Kilroy's death,said Oran Neck, chief U.S. Customs agent in Brownsville. The student's parents, Helen and James Kilroy of Santa Fe, Texas,arrived in Brownsville on Tuesday following the grisly discovery. Authorities refused to talk about the evidence or pinpoint thelocation of the grave. The area was sealed, Gavito said. The case is being investigated by Customs, the U.S. AttorneyGeneral's Office, Mexican federal authorities and local law enforcementagencies on both sides of the border. It was the third drug-related mass killing discovered near the borderin less than three weeks.