On March 14, 1989, college student Mark Kilroy disappeared between the Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas border. Kilroy, a junior studying pre-med at the University of Texas, had been vacationing with friends during the spring break holiday when he vanished off of a crowded Mexico street that evening.
Attention was drawn to the incident when a member of Kilroy’s family, employed with the U.S. Customs Service, amassed a search for the missing student. A $15,000 reward was offered for his safe return. Over 127 suspects were interviewed to no avail. Kilroy was never seen alive again.
An Odd Series of Events
On April 1, 1989, local drug smuggler Serafin Hernandez, blew a police checkpoint. Officers quickly gave chase. During the pursuit Hernandez appeared completely oblivious to the police presence and led cops to a dilapidated ranch on an isolated patch of desert nearby.
Police arrested Hernandez, along with another dealer accompanying him, and brought them in for questioning. Hernandez poured forth details regarding operations on the ranch. He stated the land was owned and operated by a cult engaged in a form of Voodoo-witchcraft known as “Palo Mayombe”—a religion whose practice the cult’s leader engaged in for the benefit of their cartel’s operations. Hernandez spoke freely under the assumption that his cult’s “magic” would protect him from police prosecution. He explained in graphic detail how the cult carried out ritual human torture and sacrifice and that because of such practices they believed they were immune from both death and the law.
Upon excavation of the property police unearthed 15 bodies the first day. By April 11th, 14 others were found. Among them was American college student, Mark Kilroy. His brain was later discovered inside a cast-iron pot in a shed on the ranch. Multiple remains were found buried inside a mass grave, all in various stages of decomposition. Their cause of death varied from a gunshot wound to the head to multiple blows from a machete. Nearly all the victims had vital organs missing.
|Unearthing a mass grave|
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo
Introduced to the occult by his mother at an early age and indoctrinated into Palo Mayombe by a Haitian Palero priest in his teens, Constanzo moved to Matamoros, Mexico where he found that the quickest way to make a buck was off of people’s superstitions and belief in witchcraft.
He quickly made a name for himself within the drug trade as a powerful sorcerer who would perform black magic rituals for a hefty sum—sometimes in the thousands of dollars—in order to ensure a successful drug run or other illegal trade. He became a self-made millionaire in just a few short years by practicing magic and soon found himself shaking hands with some of the most powerful drug lords in the business.
Power drunk and money hungry, Constanzo constructed his own cult. Some of the members he recruited were surprising—a physician, a real estate agent, fashion models, and even law officers. Two of his most prominent members were Salvador Garcia Alarcon, a commander in charge of narcotics investigations, and Florentino Ventura Gutierrez, a retiree from the Mexican Federal Investigations Agency and then head of the Mexican branch of Interpol.
In order to make his magic more powerful, Constanzo claimed he required the use of a human sacrifice. He would then issue orders to his cult members to seek out victims to bring back to the ranch, upon which time Constanzo would sacrifice and harvest their remains, later burying their bodies on the ranch. Constanzo would then use the parts gathered from his victims, placing them inside an iron cauldron called an "Nganga", in order to imprison their spirits to do his bidding.
|A practitioner's Nganga|
Constanzo was later cornered by police in an apartment house along with several of his followers. Instead of being taken into police custody, Constanzo ordered his personal hitman to shoot Constanzo and his followers to death. This request was successfully carried out and Constanzo’s hitman was the only suspect taken into custody.
Constanzo was alleged to have committed upwards of 40 murders during his reign as cult leader and has been classified as a serial killer regardless of his status as a cult leader.