Americas & Beyond
|Santeria Healer Charged in Ritual Burning Accident|
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July 15, 2010
San Juan, Puerto Rico — A spiritual healer who allegedly dropped a candle into an alcohol bath where a woman was undergoing a Santeria ritual has been charged with negligent homicide in her death.
|Santeria is a widely practiced faith in the Caribbean.|
Police consider 28-year-old Stephanie Rodriguez Pizarro's death in July 2009 in a San Juan housing project to be an accident, and say she sought the treatment to help with marital and financial troubles. She died of second-degree burns over half her body.
The healer, 46-year-old Jose Cadiz Tapia, was charged Tuesday following an investigation that took about a year to complete, police said. He faces six months to three years in prison if convicted.
A lawyer could not immediately be located for Cadiz, who was released on $20,000 bond without entering a plea. A court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11.
Santeria, which mixes Roman Catholicism with the traditional African Yoruba faith, is a widely practiced faith in the Caribbean.