Categories: U.S Military News

Florida men arrested for stealing veterans’ remains for religious rituals

Police have arrested two men for allegedly desecrating the graves of several deceased veterans in a Florida cemetery and stealing their remains for use in religious rituals.

Brian Tolentino, 43, and Juan Burgos-Lopez, 39, are accused of stealing remains from four separate graves in a Mount Dora, Florida, cemetery on Dec. 6, according to a press release from the Polk Country Sheriff’s Office.

Burgos-Lopez was arrested on Wednesday after PCSO detectives searched his Lake Wales home and uncovered “a shed with a religious shrine” containing seven skulls, four of which Burgos-Lopez and Tolentino admitted to removing from the Mount Dora graves.

“The shed/shrine contained cauldrons filled with dirt and other items such as bones, sticks, feathers, rocks, turtle shells, and small animal skulls, along with the human skulls,” according to PCSO.

The suspects told law enforcement that they had used the human remains as part of their practice of Palo Mayombe, a West African-derived religion that “specifically involves … the use of human skeletal remains placed within ritual cauldrons,” according to a March 2015 issue of the academic journal Forensic Science International.

According to PCSO, the suspects told detectives that they chose veterans’ graves “due to the fact that their religion demands that the remains are from those who have ‘done something heroic.’”

The remains were identified as Henry Brittain, an Army private and Korean War veteran; Elbert Carr, an Army sergeant and World War I veteran; and Calvin McNair, a former Marine Corps military policeman who was buried in his dress blues.

The suspects also removed the remains of Annie Faniel, “a good Samaritan and caretaker.”

Burgos-Lopez, who owns a store that sells herbs and essential oils “along with items used in Palo rituals,” identified himself as a “Tata,” or religious leader, and regularly produces YouTube videos discussing different Palo Mayombe rituals.

Tolentino is a convicted felon with previous arrests for cocaine possession, drug possession with intent to distribute, grand theft, and armed robbery of a bank back in 2000.

Featured image: Brian Tolentino Juan Burgos-Lopez (Polk Country Sheriff’s Office)

Related: A woman kept her dead husband’s body in a freezer for 10 years and collected his VA benefits, police say

Deenewsline

Share
Published by
Deenewsline

Recent Posts

UN loses 3 peacekeepers in 3 days

Three peacekeepers were killed and four others injured in separate attacks in the Central African…

7 mins ago

Walk in park may mitigate work related stress

Tsukuba [Japan], January 16 (ANI): While working people always are on a lookout to get…

13 mins ago

Villagers slam Star Wars bosses as set for Obi-Wan Kenobi series arrives at disused quarry

WRATH Vader! Furious villagers slam Star Wars bosses as massive film set for Obi-Wan Kenobi…

13 mins ago

2023: Igbo president ‘ll ensure post civil war full integration

By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka A PRESIDENTIAL aspirant for 2023 general election and former Chief Judge…

19 mins ago

India vs Australia: SCG officials launch investigation into Indian fan’s complaint of racial profiling during third Test

Sydney: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) officials have launched an investigation after an Indian supporter alleged…

23 mins ago

23 die in Norway after receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Oslo [Norway], January 16 (ANI): Twenty-three people died in Norway within days of receiving their…

30 mins ago