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Chile: Baby-killing leader found dead

02 May 2013, 13:32

Lima - The fugitive leader of a Chilean cult accused of sacrificing a baby to save the world from December's supposed Mayan apocalypse has been found dead in Peru, authorities said on Thursday.

Gustavo Castillo Gaete - the dead baby's father - was found hanging at an abandoned building in the southeastern city of Cusco on Wednesday morning, police chief Javier Avalos told reporters.

"The body was found hanging from a rope, we proceeded to lower it to take fingerprints, which were sent to Chile. The results of the fingerprints came back positive," Avalos said.

Gaete, 36, is believed to have been in Peru since February. The murdered baby's mother and three other suspects were arrested on Friday.


Chilean authorities say Gaete was the leader of a cult which burned the baby alive on 23 November at a farm outside the city of Quilpe, some 110km west of Santiago.

The search for the members of the cult, believed to number about 10, followed a four-month investigation after police were notified of the disappearance of a newborn that was never registered with authorities.

Police said Gaete repeatedly slept with the five women in the group, whose members consumed ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic Andean brew.

When Castillo learned that one of the women was pregnant he locked her up during her pregnancy.

When the baby was born he asked to use it in a ritual to save the world ahead of the 21 December 2012 "Mayan apocalypse", police said.

The date marked the end of a 5 200 year era on the Mayan calendar, though many were convinced it actually marked the end of the world as foretold by ancient Mayan hieroglyphs.


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