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Three surrender over ritual baby killing in Chile

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Three members of an alleged cult accused of sacrificing a baby to save the world ahead of December's supposed Mayan apocalypse, surrendered on Saturday, Chilean police said.

Police were on Sunday still hunting for the alleged leader of the cult who is believed to have fled to Peru, after the baby's mother and three other suspects were arrested on Friday.

The baby was burned alive on November 23 at a farm outside the city of Quilpe, some 110 kilometers (70 miles) west of Santiago.

Police reported on their Twitter account that one of the women wanted in connection with the doomsday killing surrendered early Saturday and was promptly jailed.

Her defense attorney claims that she was not present when the baby was killed and has asked that the woman be submitted to a psychiatric test.

Later in the day two other suspects, a man and a woman, also surrendered.

The search for the members of the cult, believed to number about 10, followed a four-month investigation after police were notified of the disappearance of a newborn that was never properly registered with authorities.

Police said alleged sect leader and the baby's father, 36 year-old Gustavo Castillo Gaete, repeatedly slept with the five women in the group, whose members consumed ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic Andean brew.

When Castillo learned that one of the women was pregnant he locked her up during her pregnancy.

When the baby was born he asked to use it in a ritual supposedly destined to save the world ahead of the December 21, 2012 "Mayan apocalypse," police said.

The date marked the end of a 5,200 year era on the Mayan calendar, though many were convinced it actually marked the end of the world as foretold by ancient Mayan hieroglyphs.

Peruvian Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza said that Castillo entered Peru on February 19 with four other people, before Chile had issued an arrest warrant.

"Police intelligence is carrying out an investigation to find him and capture him," Pedraza said late Friday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130428/three-surrender-over-ritual-baby-killing-chile