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Doug

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Tamale maker denies using human flesh in food.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0422HumanTamale22-ON.html

Associated Press
Apr. 22, 2004 06:55 AM


MEXICO CITY - A tamale vendor in western Mexico was arrested after police discovered a carved-up body in his home, a spokeswoman for state prosecutors said Wednesday. The vendor denied using human flesh in his food.

The vendor, who sold tamales from a cart in the city of Morelia in Michoacan state, was arrested Tuesday after police received an anonymous tip that he had a dismembered body in his house, said Lorena Cortes, a spokeswoman for Michoacan state prosecutors.

Police entered the home and found body parts, some of which appeared to have been boiled with herbs. A daylong analysis of the tamales found in the house revealed that they were free of human flesh, Cortes said.

But she said Wednesday night that police found other materials that suggested the suspect intended to make a new batch of tamales and that bits of human flesh were discovered nearby.

"It is unknown if he planned to use the human meat in new tamales," Cortes said. "More investigation is necessary."

The suspect told police he killed the man, who has not yet been identified by police, in a drunken argument on Monday, but he denied using the body parts in his tamales, Cortes said.

The suspect's name was released but their were conflicting reports on how it was spelled. Cortes said he was born in Cuernavaca, a colonial city south of Mexico City and that he had worked as a butcher in the Mexican capital before arriving in Morelia seven or eight years ago.

"His experience as a butcher helped him cut the body," Cortes said, adding that the suspect may also have sliced up his victim in order to feed the remains to rats as way of destroying the evidence.

He was in the custody of state prosecutors who were conducting physiological test Monday night, Cortes said.

The story was front-page news in Mexico, where one tabloid headline screamed: "Tamales of Death!"

Some newspapers ran pictures of a bloody torso on the living room floor and mangled body parts next to a cooking pot.

Tamales are a typical Mexican meal, often eaten at breakfast. They can contain almost any ingredients - often pork or chicken - buried inside cornmeal and wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves.

"People are very dismayed because in this city, the culinary tradition of the tamale is very important," Cortes said.
 

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