Carbonised body discovered in Murtosa: unwitting fire-raiser

Woman died in process of bizarre ritual

The woman whose carbonised body was discovered on Tuesday evening after firefighters were called to a burning cornfield appears to have been a victim of a bizarre ritual of her own design.

As reports today explain, householders in the area of Bunheiro “never imagined” that among thick black smoke enveloping the cornfield they would find a blazing body.

“We were in shock”, Lázaro Sousa tells Correio da Manhã. “When we called the firefighters and the GNR we had no idea anyone was there…”

Next to the smouldering human remains lay photographs, some figures of saints and “objects used in rituals of witchcraft”, says the paper.

No indication yet has come of the woman’s identity. Certainly she was not local.

The paper talks of a car found close by, with a “Bible on the dashboard”.

Someone clearly does know the woman’s identity, as CM describes a “probable attack of epilepsy” as being the cause of the fire: the woman is thought to have had the attack, fallen on a little fire she had started as part of the ritual, and thus burnt to death as flames started spreading.

Aveiro PJ is handling the investigation, says the paper, “but the hypothesis of crime seems very unlikely”.

Bunheiro residents however are still ‘shocked’ over the incident, one saying no one “imagined that anyone would come here for this kind of purpose”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com