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Fugitive leader of baby-killing cult found dead

AFP-JIJI

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

Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete — the dead baby’s father — was found hanged in an abandoned building in the southeastern city of Cuzco on Wednesday morning, Police Chief Javier Avalos said. “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 Friday.

Chilean authorities say Gaete was the leader of a cult that burned the baby alive Nov. 23 at a farm outside the city of Quilpe, some 110 km 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 who 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 Dec. 21 Maya apocalypse, police said.