Puerto Rico healer charged in death of woman burned in alcohol bath during Santeria ritualBy AP
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Santeria healer charged in ritual burning accident
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.
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.