A 5-year-old Mexican boy whose eyes were allegedly gouged out by his mother as part of a drug-fueled ritual "to save the world" is expected to live, but has been left completely blind, health authorities said Friday.
The boy, identified by authorities only as Fernando, was taken to a hospital in Mexico City after police discovered the mother clutching her eyeless son at a home in the working-class suburb of Nezahualcoyotl early Thursday.
The Mexico City Health Department said the boy lost both eyes and was suffering some leakage of cerebral fluid. He was in intensive care and was listed in guarded condition, but doctors said in a statement that such leakage normally stops by itself and that no brain surgery is planned at the moment.
The chief prosecutor for Mexico state, where Nezahualcoyotl is located, said the boy's mother had apparently urged others to help her mutilate her son in order "to prevent an earthquake and save the world."
Several adults were at the home reciting a prayer, and had apparently been fasting because "the world was going to end," said Nezahualcoyotl assistant police Chief Samuel Cuevas Monroy, quoting the boy's grandmother. The mother, identified as Maria del Carmen Rios, 28, reportedly told the boy to close his eyes and when he refused, she decided to gouge them out "to clean them."
Some reported the mother had become incoherent and began shouting "Let's kill him, to get the Devil out of him," Neme said.
Most of the others present at the time were relatives, including the boy's aunt and uncle, and authorities said the adults appeared to have been consuming unspecified drugs. The mother and seven others were being held pending charges.
The 22-year-old aunt allegedly held the boy while the mother gouged out his eyes, apparently with her fingers.
Neme said it was not clear if the mutilation was linked to any sort of religious belief.
Eight followers of the cult known as "Santa Muerte, " or Saint Death, were recently charged with the sacrificial killings of two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman in northern Sonora state. The cult had never before been linked to human sacrifice.
Mexico's most notorious case of ritual sacrifice came with the "narco-satanicos" killings of the 1980s. Fifteen bodies, many of them with signs of ritual sacrifice, were unearthed at a ranch outside the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.