Same individual different case:_____
Maria Delrefugio Chavez turned to Pablo Pinto Mata, a Santeria spiritual leader, for healing.
The El Monte woman met Mata — a self-proclaimed priest whose followers sometimes called him "El Padrino," or the Godfather — at a botánica he owned in Montebello, where he performed healing rituals.
He became her spiritualist. Eventually their relationship became intimate. Though Mata was already married with children, he fathered a daughter with Chavez, authorities said.
Then, in 2009, Chavez disappeared. Authorities investigated, but the trail eventually went cold — until this month. Human remains were found buried in the backyard of a San Gabriel Valley home. Los Angeles County authorities said Tuesday the remains are those of Chavez and that Mata is now charged in her slaying.
The 46-year-old, who is of Salvadoran descent, disappeared two years ago after allegedly assaulting a teenage girl, authorities said. Detectives said they can't be sure he's still in the country.
Even before he was charged in Chavez's death, Mata was under police scrutiny.
Sheriff's Det. Steven Blagg said authorities were hoping some of Mata's followers would see that "he's a false prophet" and come forward. Blagg said that Mata also used the moniker Juan Diego, after the indigenous Catholic saint who, according to legend, beheld the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531.
A Santeria priest has been accused of sexually assaulting a girl during what he claimed were healing rituals, Montebello police said Thursday.
Police are trying to find Pablo Pinto Mata, 46 — known as a “Santero,” or priest — who often performed healing rituals at his business, Los Angeles Import, in the 2400 block of Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, police said.
But police said his so-called healing rituals were a ploy used to assault a teenager. Montebello detectives have been chasing Mata since 2013, but he has managed to elude them.
Santeria priest claims sexual assault was part of healing ritual, police say - LA Times