By Steve Neavling
Three family members in Florida, including a Homeland Security employee, were beaten with a claw hammer and their throats were slit in a triple murder that appears to be tied to “witchcraft” and the blue moon, The Washington Post reports.
Law enforcement said the gruesome attack near Pensacola, Fla., was being investigated as a “ritualistic killing.” Killed were Voncile Smith, 77, and her sons John William Smith, 49; and Richard Thomas Smith, 47, a Homeland Security employee who also was shot in the head.
“The elements of this case are odd, at best,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said at a news conference, as Reuters reported. “We have a very reclusive family. Obviously we’ve canvassed the neighborhood, spoken to people who’ve lived there for years and years. Neighbors have related to us that they’ve never met members of this family.”
Police said they have an person of interest “with ties to witchcraft.”
“Initial research has led us to believe it was a ritualistic killing,” Morgan also said, as the Pensacola News Journal reported. “The method of the murder — blunt force trauma, slit throats, positioning of bodies — and our person of interest has some ties to a faith or religion that is indicative of that. The time of the death on Tuesday also coincides with what’s referred to as a blue moon, which occurs every three years.”