Police now believe that the human skull that some Los Angeles boy scouts discovered along the side of a lake was used for a religious ritual.
An investigation that started in January after the child-sized skull was found in January has lead police to think that it was likely used in a Palo Mayombe ritual.
The ritualistic traditions of the Palo, a religion that has its roots in Central Africa, are known for their use of human body parts and animal sacrifices.
Grizzly discovery: A small human skull believed to belong to a child was found in a lake in Hollywood by two teenagers
These findings have lead police to say that the skull was likely voluntarily given and that there probably was no foul play involved in the incident.
The skull was found inside a clay bucket in January and the investigation has stumped officials until now.
After Nicholas Vargas and Matthew Fischer, two 15-year-old Boy Scouts, discovered the skull when they pulled a shopping cart out of the water after swimming in the murky lake.
The skull was lodged in a clay vase and rolled out when they removed a bundle of sticks and clay from it.
Brandy Fischer, mother of one of the teens, told Channel 10 she had banned her son from swimming in the lake as it was so dirty.
‘This lake is dangerous. It’s toxic. I told them to stay out of the lake,’ she said.
Investigation: Hollywood police say divers spent Monday morning searching Oak Lake Park, looking for bones and other evidence
Mystery: The teens, who are Boy Scouts, were trying to clean out the lake so they could swim in it when they found the skull in a clay vase
‘My son, being the boy he is, wanted to clean out the lake, thinking he can have Mom (let him) swim in it now.
‘No – he brought this skull home, and we called the cops, and that was it. It was nasty.’
The skull was taken to the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office, where investigators concluded it was human.
Lt Pereira says an anthropologist will try to determine the age, race and gender but based on the small size of the skull, there is speculation it may belong to a small child.
Odd traditions: The ritualistic sacrifices of the Palo, a religion that has its roots in Central Africa, are known for their use of human body parts and animal sacrifices
A similar situation occurred in Miami this April when someone found human remains along with small tools and a set of machetes, leading local investigators to conclude it was the leftovers of a Palo Mayombe ritual.
‘They often use human remains in their ceremonial sites, and that is exactly what we found at the bottom of the red pot, a skull with a chain wrapped around it,’ Richard Couto, a spokesman from the Animal Recovery Mission, told NBC 6 in regards to the Miami case.