Police found a human skull adorning a backyard altar at a home in California this weekend.
Pasadena police were responding to a trespassing call on Saturday when they discovered a burned altar in the backyard of a nearby home. A human skull and other bones recovered from the makeshift altar have prompted an investigation by police.
According to NBC News, the altar appeared to be of a religious nature and contained animal bones, several burned artifacts, candles, and incense in addition to the human skull. Police have stated that the female who owns the residence is known to practice Santeria, a religion that is commonly associated with animal sacrifice.
Pasadena Police Lieutenant Ed Calatayud said the following:
“Having human bones is a little disconcerting. We respect everyone’s religious right to practice. Our focus is on the bones.”
Police collected the human skull and other items from the backyard altar for further investigation. The bones are currently being examined by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office in an effort to trace their origin.
An article by CBS News writes that neighbors did not seem shocked by Saturday’s events. One neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, alleged that she frequently heard loud chanting in the backyard where the altar was found. The neighbor also claimed to have seen the bloody heads of animals on the property.
Another neighbor defended the homeowner:
“They are harming no one. It’s just a basic religious ritual they are performing.”
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At this time, no arrests have been made in connection with Saturday’s discovery and it remains unclear if foul play was involved. According to a statement by Pasadena police, the human skull and backyard altar are being investigated as “suspicious circumstances”.