2 men arrested for allegedly stealing military veterans' remains, using them in 'religious practices'
Two men were arrested after allegedly stealing the remains of military veterans from a Florida cemetery that they later used for "religious practices".
On December 6, 2020, four graves in Edgewood Cemetery in Mount Dora, Florida, in Lake County were found to be disrupted. According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, a crowbar was used to remove the covers from the graves.
MORE: Mother of three stabbed to death as children flee to neighbor's house for help
Investigators collected items left behind - including cigar stubs - and sent them for DNA testing, which authorities said matched Brian Montalvo Tolentino, 43, from Davenport, Florida.
"The Lake [county] detectives then met and interviewed Tolentino. During that time, he confessed to having gone to the cemetery with another 39-year-old Juan Burgos-Lopez ... and committed the crimes," said the Lake County Sheriff's Office in a statement released Jan. 7 after contacting the Polk County Sheriff's Office, whose detectives had obtained a search warrant for the suspects. Tolentino stated that Lopez used a crowbar to open the vaults and then removed the deceased's heads. He said they removed four heads from the four graves and then returned to Lopez's apartment. He said the heads were taken for religious practices. "
MORE: 4 teenagers attack boy at home and have his mom run over with a van after a romantic argument
PHOTO: On December 6, 2020, four graves were found to have been disrupted in Edgewood Cemetery in Mount Dora, Florida. According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, a crowbar was used to remove the covers from the graves. (Polk County Sheriff's Department)
MORE: Man crushed to death after 12 tons of mold fell on him at work
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the suspects told the detectives that they were using the human remains in their religious practice called Palo Mayombe - a religion that, according to Lonely, developed among enslaved Africans and their descendants during slavery in Cuba - and that they did Robbed graves of veterans in need of the remains of those who "did something heroic".
Polk County authorities then received a search warrant for Lopez's residence "in order to locate and retrieve the human remains."
MORE: Man arrested for stuffing razor blades into consumer pizza dough
"During the search, the detectives found a total of six skulls, a hand, a partial arm and several other large bones in a kind of religious shrine," said a statement from the Lake County Sheriff's Office. “Lopez identified four skulls as those obtained from Edgewood Cemetery and stated that the other two skulls were obtained from other practitioners. He also had an extra skull that he claimed was fake. "
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the victims included deceased Korean War and World War I veterans, among others.
MORE: Teenager allegedly murdering 5-year-old half-sister arrested nearly 500 miles away
Tolentino and Burgos-Lopez were detained in Polk County Prison as part of their Lake County arrest warrants and charged with four disrupting the contents of the grave and four mistreatment of a dead human body. They are currently being held for $ 40,000.
2 men arrested for allegedly stealing remains from military veterans and using them in "religious practices" originally featured on abcnews.go.com
Casino mogul Adelson buried in Jerusalem
See Kevin James in Official Trailer for Netflix’s NASCAR Sitcom The Crew
Trump Blacklists Chinese Companies: Cnooc, Xiaomi
Chase Young: Coaches told players 'don't be surprised' if Washington beats Steelers
Here’s what Jets hiring of Robert Saleh could mean for the Patriots
Sammy Watkins out, Clyde Edwards-Helaire questionable for Chiefs