Sect of Nacozari

A religious group led by a Mexican woman convicted of multiple human sacrifices in devotion to Santa Muerte.

The Sect of Nacozari, also known as the Human Sacrifices Sect of Nacozari, was a criminal and religious group active in Nacozari, Sonora, Mexico, from 2009 to 2012. The sect was led by Silvia Meraz Moreno, a native of Hermosillo, Sonora, born in 1968. Coming from a background marked by poverty, Meraz, along with several family members, engaged in a series of brutal murders as human sacrifices to Santa Muerte, a folk saint associated with death.

The sect was predominantly composed of Meraz’s own family, including four of her five children, her father, her partner Eduardo Sánchez Urrieta, and Zoyla Hada Santacruz Iriqui. These close associates were convinced by Meraz that their financial hardships could be alleviated through such extreme acts. This close-knit group committed a total of three known murders involving ritualistic practices.

The first known victim, Cleotilde Romero Pacheco, was a local popsicle seller deceived by Meraz into bending down to pick up a note, only to be fatally struck in the neck with an axe. Romero’s blood was collected as an offering to Santa Muerte. The sect’s second victim was Martín Ríos Chaparro, a ten-year-old boy and the biological son of Eduardo Sánchez, Meraz’s partner. He was intoxicated, stabbed multiple times by Meraz’s thirteen-year-old daughter, and his blood was spread around an altar. The final known victim was another ten-year-old boy, Jesús Octavio Martínez Yáñez, who was also subjected to similar cruel rituals.

The investigation into these murders began after the disappearance of Jesús Martínez. Initially suspected of being a victim of human trafficking, the true nature of his demise was uncovered when his body, along with others, was discovered in locations related to the Meraz family. This led to a broader investigation that culminated in March 2012 with the arrest of Meraz and seven other family members.

Silvia Meraz Moreno was sentenced to 180 years in prison for her crimes, reflecting the severity of her actions, while other adult members of the sect received 60-year sentences. The youngest daughter, being a minor at the time of her involvement, was placed in a youth detention center. The psychological evaluations suggested that the children involved, being raised within the cult from an early age, had come to see such horrific practices as normal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *