A 68-year-old accused witch in the La Libertad region of Peru was beaten to death by a group of citizen patrol members who call themselves “ronderos”. The group is reported to have killed the woman because they suspected she was using black magic to kill her own son.
The Lima, Peru newspaper La Republica reports that the woman, Elesmira Zárate, was held by the ronderos for two days and underwent punishment which included physical abuse and being forced to walk for very long distances. Her kneeling body was found in the town of Pichimpampa, after the victim’s family asked for assistance from the local district attorney’s office to retrieve her remains for burial.
The body was taken to a nearby morgue for examination. According to RPP Noticias, investigators found many injuries on the woman’s abdomen, as well as marks on her neck which indicated that she had been choked. Bruises found on her legs, RPP reported, may indicate that Elesmira Zárate was tortured before dying.
Local legal authorities have ordered the arrest of three of the ronderos who are suspected to have been involved in Zárate’s death. RPP reports that the ronderos maintain the woman died from a pre-existing illness and not because of any physical punishments inflicted by the group.