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Man accused of stealing human remains gives police surprising reason

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A man charged with stealing the skeletal remains of five bodies from a Massachusetts mausoleum has been ordered held on $100,000 bail.

Amador Medina was arrested Friday after the remains were found in his apartment in Hartford, Connecticut. Police said Medina told them he is a Santeria priest and wanted the bones for religious and healing ceremonies.

Not guilty pleas were entered for the 32-year-old Medina during his arraignment Tuesday in Central District Court on five counts of disinterment of a body.

The remains were reported missing in October from Hope Cemetery in Worcester.

Santeria mixes Roman Catholicism with a traditional African faith. Scholars say it was imported to Cuba through slaves brought from the Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe. It is now widely practiced in the Caribbean.

Medina’s public defender did not immediately return a call seeking comment.