Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Disturbing Discovery
A disturbing discovery by a 7News team, leads to a criminal investigation involving human remains and an apparent religious site. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the exclusive.
WSVN -- We stumbled on this site while investigating another story. It's off a gravel road in a rural area of Northwest Miami-Dade. There were menacing looking statues, creepy dolls sitting on chairs, chains around pots that were stuffed with sticks and animal skulls and there were knives - lots of knives.
Richard Couto investigates animal cruelty. We asked him to identify the skulls.
Richard Couto, Animal Recovery Mission: "This from a young buck. We do have dog remains here. This is a young small breed dog."
Richard Couto: "This is pretty disturbing. This is a kitty. So they are sacrificing domestic pets on this site."
But that was nothing compared to what was found at the bottom of the largest pot- a human skull.
Richard Couto: "And there are other human remains here as well. I believe leg or arm bones and they surround the pot with different types of sticks."
Some of the sticks have the names of individuals on them. Another has the word "diablo" which means devil in Spanish.
Richard Couto: "And everything in this pot is traditional Palo Mayombe."
Palo, which means stick in Spanish, is a religion that has African roots.
Palo Mayombe videos on Youtube have been viewed thousands of times. Some show ceremonies where animals are being sacrificed.
After finding the human skull here in South Florida, Couto called police. The Miami-Dade Police Department is now investigating and it is not the first time they've been called to such a site.
Almost 15 years ago to the day, also in West Miami-Dade, another skull was discovered at a site that contained many of the same kinds of items we found.
Authorities will now determine if the most recent discovery is evidence of a religious practice or of a criminal act.