Religion · Spain

Boy killed for his blood and fat to cure a patient’s tuberculosis

June 28, 1910
Gádor, Almería, Andalucía, Spain
Two healers and their accomplices kidnap and murder a child to help cure a patient’s tuberculosis

Francisco Ortega went to a local healer, Agustina Rodriguez, to cure his recently diagnosed tuberculosis. Rodriguez in turn contacted another healer, Francisco Leóna, who revealed the cure to be blood and fat from a healthy child. Leóna, along with Rodriguez’s son Julio “The Fool” Hernández, kidnapped 7-year-old Bernardo Gonzalez Parra using chloroform and stuffing him in a sack. He was brought to an abandoned barn where he was cut under his armpit. His blood was collected and mixed with sugar, which Ortega drank. The child was then taken to another location, his skull crushed with a rock, and his fat extracted which was rubbed on Ortega’s chest. The completion of the ritual involved Parra’s body being hidden in a crevice and covered with herbs and stones rather than buried.

The murder was revealed after Leóna attempted to trick Hernández out of some of his promised wages. In retaliation, Hernández told the Civil Guard of the location of the child (he claimed he discovered while chasing partridges). The Civil Guard began questioning, and all parties involved implicated the others. Healers Leóna and Rodriguez, “The Fool,” and the patient, Ortega, were all sentenced to death by garrote. Leóna died in prison before his execution and “The Fool” was eventually pardoned because of insanity. Another of Rodriguez’s sons, Joseph Hernández, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for participating in the preparation of the murder. Because he was not directly involved in the murder, he was spared a death sentence.

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