NEWARK, N.J. -- A 61-year-old woman has been convicted of stealing human remains from cemeteries for religious rituals.
A New Jersey prosecutor said Miriam Mirabal ordered the theft of three people's remains from Newark cemeteries in 2001 and 2002 so they could be placed in cauldrons for rituals in which spirits of the dead are called up to cast misfortune on others.
Authorities alleged Mirabal was a high priestess in the Palo Mayombe cult.
She was found guilty of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and burglary Monday.
The remains five individuals were recovered in August 2002 from a botanica owned and operated by co-defendant Oscar Cruz.
Cruz was previously convicted of receiving stolen property.
Remains that were recovered included skulls and other bones.