Human skull in Hollywood linked to religious ritual, police say

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- A human skull found in a lake earlier this year likely had been used for an Afro-Caribbean religious ritual, police said Tuesday.

After the skull was found in Oak Lake Park in late January, it was sent away to be analyzed by a forensic anthropologist, according to Hollywood police spokeswoman Lt. Nicole Coffin.

The anthropologist found no sign of trauma on the skull, contributing to police investigators' suspicion that whoever died was not a victim of foul play, Coffin said.

Though the identity of the skull remains a mystery, several clues indicate the skull once was used for the Palo Mayombe faith, police said Tuesday. The skull was found in a clay pot with several other "artifacts related to that religion," Coffin said.

Officials say human skulls found across South Florida sometimes are traced to Santeria or Palo Mayombe, two ritualistic religions. Authorities in some cases have suspected remains were disinterred to perform rituals.

In Hollywood, the skull was found in the water near North 56th Avenue and Douglas Street. Police's inquiry remains under way, Coffin said.


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