A pregnant woman who was murdered on kilometre six of the Route Six road in Argentina is thought to have been targeted by Satanists. 

(DM) The three sixes associated with the killing of 26-year-old Fernanda Pereyra are believed to represent ‘666’ – named in the Book of Revelation as the ‘number of the beast’.

Her body was found burned in a fire so hot that only a necklace was left by which to identify her near the town of Rincon de los Sauces, in the western Argentine province of Neuquen.

They say the killers used a large amount of petrol to burn the body to ash.

Police say the victim was transported in a Renault Kangoo van. The van when recovered was found to have been cleaned but traces of blood and hair from the victim remained, say prosecutors Agustin Garcia and Fabian Flores.

Police have arrested three people in connection with Pereyra’s murder: her former boyfriend Luciano Hernandez and his two friends Osvaldo Castillo and Diego Marillan.

The suspects have also been linked with drug trafficking and are thought to practice Satanism and unidentified African religions.

Police investigators named San La Muerte (Saint Death), the patron saint of drug traffickers, and ‘Destranca Rua’, an entity linked with the Angolan ‘kimbanda’ religion as having featured in the alleged ritual.

Officers searching a suspect’s house say they found ‘Satanic’ music and images featuring tridents and women in flames.

A sheep in the courtyard was also suspected to have been used in the trio’s Satanic rituals.

Hundreds of locals joined a protest at the shocking killings.

The area is known to have had social problems since more than 1,000 people were fired from jobs with petrol companies.

Drug traffickers took advantage of the social chaos to begin controlling the area.

Pereyra had suffered other abuse before being murdered.

Her former boyfriend, the boxer Ademar Maraguel, who is also the father of one of her three children, once beat her brutally while she was taking money from a cash machine. He was arrested but later released.

Two years later, in November 2016, she witnessed a crime where Franco Orellano, a teenager, was killed by a drug trafficker.

After that incident, she received several death threats but police do not believe they are linked to her eventual murder.

Judge Pablo Yancarelli has put the three suspects in preventive prison for six months while the investigation continues, though police have warned it could take even longer.

Police say they have two hypotheses for the murder’s motivation beyond its religious significance.

The first is that Pereryra was murdered by her boyfriend because she got pregnant by another man.

The other is that it was to warn other citizens against interfering with drug-dealing gangs.

Lawyer Marcelo Henriksen Velasco, who was involved in the case when Pereyra witnessed the murder, said: ‘In my opinion, this is not a domestic violence case, this is a crime linked with drug trafficking.’

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