Members of satanic cults in the Southland have sacrificed animals and robbed human graves to follow the precepts of their bizarre religion, a Los Angeles police detective said last week.
Cult members, mostly teen-agers, believe that animal blood and human body parts have magical powers, according to Detective Patrick Metoyer of the criminal conspiracy division of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Metoyer, who has researched the activities of satanic cults for the Police Department, spoke to representatives of about 20 Southland animal control and humane groups at a seminar at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City sponsored by the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Ed Cubrda, executive director of the Los Angeles SPCA, said that although the nonprofit group has not arrested any cult members for cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, it traced half a dozen animal deaths to cults last year. He said the SPCA hopes that educating its officers about cult practices will result in more leads and prosecutions.
"This whole activity is brand new to us. It's just in the last year it has come to our knowledge," Cubrda said. "The seminar was conducted to make people aware of the kinds of activity going on. They could have been picking up carcasses for some time that could be traced to occult activity and they didn't know it."
Metoyer said police and the SPCA have found the mutilated remains of cats and dogs at the scenes of satanic rituals in remote sections of Griffith Park. The animals are usually disemboweled, beheaded or burned, he said.
No Arrests Made
In two separate incidents in the last two years, cult members have stolen heads, leg bones and other human body parts from mausoleums at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery and the Home of Peace Jewish Cemetery in East Los Angeles, Metoyer said. The cultists use the body parts in their rituals, he said. No arrests were made in either incident.
Grave robbing is a felony under the city's health and safety codes, he said.
Police also found animal blood and satanic symbols last year on the walls of a home at Sunset Boulevard and Genesee Avenue in Hollywood that was inhabited mostly by transient teen-agers.
Metoyer said most cults engage in superstition and ritualistic magic. Cultists believe that sacrificing animals eliminates evil spirits, he said.
They use human body parts for the practice of black magic, he said.
The Santeria cult, for example, uses human body parts for magical purposes, Metoyer said. The cult, which originated in Cuba, combines elements of African witchcraft and Latin American Catholicism and is practiced mostly by Cuban immigrants, he said.
He said that Santeria cultists may be responsible for the many decapitated birds police have found along a stretch of the Long Beach freeway between Cudahy and Bell Gardens in East Los Angeles.