Days after a man was charged with stealing the remains of five people from a cemetery in Worcester, Massachusetts, police say more human remains are missing from a second mausoleum.
Amador Medina of Hartford, Connecticut, has been held on $100,000 bail on charges of breaking into a mausoleum at Hope Cemetery and stealing the skeletal remains of three adults and two children.
Wednesday, Worcester Police said the remains of three more people may be missing from a different structure.
Medina, a 32-year-old Santeria priest, wanted the skeletons for medicinal reasons in conjunction with the Afro-Cuban religion, investigators said, adding that older bones are preferred - the bones Medina is accused of stealing date back to the early 1900s.
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"There is certainly an organized cult out there that are looking for human remains," said Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst. "There's a certain religious belief out there that these remains will enhance their own lives to whatever degree."
Worcester Police say they learned of the additional missing remains, which are more than a century old, after Medina's arrest. They say there are believed to be more people responsible for the thefts. Police have not said whether Medina was suspected in the other thefts.
It was incredibly hard to tell the locks on the second mausoleum were even cut, police say.
"This is a well planned out operation," said Hazelhurst. "It's our belief that the locks were cut in May, yet the removals weren't until September."
As of Wednesday, new locks had been placed on at least one mausoleum. Investigators have begun checking all of the mausoleums in the city. No more discoveries have been made.
Medina was charged with five counts of disinterment of a body. He pleaded not guilty and was held on $100,000 bail.
His attorney said at a hearing Tuesday that his bail should be set much lower than $100,000 because of his work history and minimal criminal history.