Chilean authorities detained four alleged cult members in connection to the murder of a three-day-old baby as part of a “healing ritual.”
The baby was thrown into a bonfire last November by cult members in the town of Colliguay because the members believed the child was the "anti-Christ." Included in the arrest was the baby’s mother, 25-year-old Natalia Guerra, and three other people.
The cult’s alleged leader, Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, has eluded authorities since February. Known to his followers as "Antares from the Light," Castillo Gaete told followers he was a god and believed that the world would end on December 21 of last year.
Castillo Gaete is believed to the dead child’s father and to have convinced Guerra to “sacrifice” the baby.
“The baby was naked. They strapped tape 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,'' a Chilean investigator told the BBC.
The child was born in the port city of Viña del Mar, but local authorities soon discovered that the baby had never been officially registered. The bonfire was previously prepared in a two-meter deep hole.
Castillo Gaete is believed to have formed the cult in 2005 and the group included a number of professionals, including a filmmaker, a veterinarian and a flight attendant. He also purportedly had sexual relations with all the women in the sect.
During their rituals, the cult members consumed the potent hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca, which has for centuries been used by South America’s indigenous communities in much less violent religious ceremonies.
Authorities suspect that Castillo Gaete was last seen in neighboring Peru, where he was trying to purchase ayahuasca and maybe attempting to set up a similar cult in the Andean nation.
The mother remains in custody along with alleged cult members Josefina López, Carolina Vargas San Martín and Pablo Undurraga Atri, according to the New York Daily News.