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Dublin: 9°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Gruesome murders may be linked to 'witchcraft' and the blue moon, say Florida police

A “reclusive” family were found brutally murdered in their home on Friday.

Ritualistic Killing The house on Deerfield Drive in Pensacola, Florida where the Smith family were killed. Source: AP

POLICE IN FLORIDA say the brutal murder of a reclusive family last week may have been associated with witchcraft and the recent lunar phenomenon known as a “blue moon.”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they’ve identified a person of interest in the deaths of 77-year-old Voncile Smith and her sons Richard Smith (49) and John Smith (47), last Tuesday.

The family was so reclusive that longtime neighbors say they would not have recognized them if they saw them.

All three victims were struck repeatedly with a claw hammer and had their throats slit, and Richard Smith also had a gunshot to his right ear, Morgan said at a press conference yesterday.

The method of the murder, blunt force trauma – positions of the bodies — and our person of interest has some ties to a faith and/or religion that is indicative of that.
…The time of death, we believe, on Tuesday, also coincides with what’s referred to as a blue moon, which occurs every three years.

In a subsequent press release, Morgan specified the religious group in question as “witchcraft,” while cautioning that he did not want to “defame or demean any particular practices.”

A large amount of cash was found untouched in a drawer in the Smith family home, and investigators have ruled out robbery as a motive.

Source: CNN/YouTube

While Sheriff Morgan drew a connection with the blue moon – when two full moons take place in the same month – the lunar event actually took place on Friday, three days after the deaths.

This discrepancy was not addressed in the follow-up press release.

Morgan said the Smith family were known to be “very reclusive, very secretive” and neighbours told the Associated Press they kept to themselves.

“If they knocked on my door right now, I wouldn’t recognize them,” said neighbour Donald Dorin, who has lived two doors down from the family for nearly 40 years, but had no interaction with them.

Neighbour Meeks Willard said he is frightened and doesn’t sleep at night because of the crime.

“This is causing me a lot of stress,” said Willard, who also had never talked with the family.

The bodies were discovered on Friday in their home in a rural neighbourhood of ranch-style houses north of Pensacola Naval Air Station after a request for a welfare check.

Investigators believe the Smiths were killed about 7 pm on 28 July.

Richard Smith was employed by the Department of Homeland Security and worked at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

However, officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services “have determined there are no issues involving … national security elements,” Morgan said.

Contains reporting by the Associated Press.

Read: 63-year-old woman dismembered and beheaded by villagers who believed she was a witch>

Column: How the Catholic Church and the media thought Satanic cults were a real danger to young people in the 1980s>

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Dan MacGuill

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