Cow tongues left on railroad tracks in 'Santeria' ritual, Fla. deputies say

Caller says woman with 'weird thing on head' left packages


INDIAN RIVER, Fla. – Indian River deputies are investigating after they say someone placed cow tongues with nails and pins stuck in them on railroad tracks-- a practice linked to Santeria.

[AUDIO: 911 call released | PICS: Santeria suspected in suspicious package]

Deputies said a resident called deputies on Sunday afternoon after they observed someone placing two packages on the Roseland Road railroad tracks.

"Right by the railroad tracks there was a woman who got out of her car, she had a weird thing on her head like she was a cancer patient and she was putting stuff down on the railroad tracks," the caller told dispatchers.

The caller said they passed the tracks again and saw something on the railroad tracks.

"It just looked really weird," the caller told dispatchers.

When deputies arrived, they found two cylindrical packages, which appeared to be secured with a wire or string-like material.

The packages prompted the closure of the railroad tracks to both trains and vehicles. Upon investigation, deputies found the packages weren't dangerous.

According to the report, "Deputies have since learned of at least one similar incident in another jurisdiction that link the practice to Santeria, a religion that combines Christianity with West African beliefs."

"While we are always on alert for suspicious activities, in the weeks leading up to the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 we are even more cautious. I have instructed our deputies to take all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of the residents of Indian River County," said Sheriff Deryl Loar. "Fortunately, this incident appears to be unrelated to terrorism, but we still want to speak to whoever placed these packages."

Deputies are seeking more information about the person who placed these items on the railroad tracks. Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who may have information is encouraged to call 772-978-6161.