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Sunday, Mar 13, 2011County: Davis
Alleged: Roberto Casillas-Corrales
Clearfield police have seized two human skulls and several hundred pounds of animal bones, flesh and blood from a backyard shed.
Officers were called to assist the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force with a drug investigation about 1 p.m. Sunday in the Weber County area.
No drugs were found at the home on 64 N. Lynwood Drive. Instead, investigators found what they believed to be a religious shrine in a 12-foot by 12-foot backyard shed.
The remains appeared to be two human skulls and various animals, likely goats and sheep, and the skulls of several rams, said Clearfield Assistant Chief Michael Stenquist.
The state Medical Examiner's Office is analyzing the human skulls, which were reported to have been removed from graves in Cuba and then sold to Roberto Casillas-Corrales, who lives in the house with his family.
He told police he is a priest or santero, and the human skulls and animal parts were used for religious purposes. Santeros are clergy of Santeria, a religion practiced in the Caribbean that combines Catholicism, the African Yoruba religion and native indigenous traditions.
The animals were reported to have been purchased alive, then killed during religious ceremonies in the shed. Stenquist said the animal remains were on the floor and against the wall of the shed, which emitted a strong odor.
Also taken from the shed were 20 machetes, three knives, a hatchet and a claw hammer.
Casillas-Corrales is not a U.S. citizen, and police did not know what country he is from and did not indicate how he acquired the skulls. Casillas-Corrales told police he has lived in Clearfield for about 10 years and he was the only one with access to the shed.
Casillas-Corrales was arrested and booked into the Davis County Jail on suspicion of abuse or desecration of a human body.
"It's a first for everyone in the department. We are learning as we go," Stenquist said. "We have a lot of research to do."
The investigation is continuing and may result in several charges of cruelty to animals. Stenquist said the case was forwarded to the county attorney's office to decide whether to press charges regarding the animals remains.
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