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Victims ‘killed as offering to Saint Death’

Mexican prosecutors have formally charged eight people in the grisly cult slayings of two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman.

The suspects are mainly members of an extended family whose purported leader has said they killed the victims as an offering to “Santa Muerte,” or Saint Death, between 2009 and 2012.

FILE PHOTO - A skeletal figure representing the folk saint known in Mexico as "Santa Muerte" or "Death Saint," sits in a vendor's stall at a market in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in 2009. Credit: AP

The idol is usually depicted as a robed skeleton, and her followers include criminals and drug traffickers.

Sonora state prosecutors' spokesman Jose Larrinaga says the eight will face charges of first-degree homicide, robbery, conspiracy, corrupting minors and illegal burial.

The charges carry sentences ranging up to 50 years, and sentences would be served concurrently. A 15-year-old suspect will be held at a youth facility until she is 18 and then face trial. - Sapa-AP

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