Human Skulls Found Near Winston Lake

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Two human skulls found near Winston Lake on Wednesday are believed to be related to a religious practice, Winston-Salem Police said.

The medical examiner confirmed Thursday that human remains found in a wooded area near the lake were human skulls. The lake is located southeast of Smith Reynolds Airport.

A preliminary examination from the medical examiner showed no immediate signs of trauma, police said. The skulls have been sent to an anthropologist.

Police are still investigating but said the only law that appears to be broken at this point was littering.

Investigators are still trying to identify the skulls, which appeared to have been at the location for an extended period of time, police said. Investigators said they have found many places nationwide offering what they call geunuine human skulls for sale.

The skulls were found in containers and appeared to have been skeletonized before being taken to the scene, police said.

Police also found at the scene other items and symbols that point to some sort of ceremonial event.

Medical examiners and other sources told police that the items likely were related to a religious practice called Palo Mayombe.

The practice originated in the Congo region, and police said it became popular among Hispanics.

Police said Palo Mayombe practitioners tend to use remains from grave robberies or other sources instead of from homicides.

Police are asking anyone who may know more about the skulls or the practice to call them at (336) 773-7700, Crimestoppers at 727-2800 or the Spanish line at (336) 728-3904.