The murder of a 24-year-old man in Chihuahua, Mexico last month is being considered by authorities as a "possible satanic ritual" designed to transform the victim into a vampire.

A report from the Chihuahua State attorney general says that the four people accused of the murder – three men and a woman, ages 18-25 – "profess Satanism" and performed "inside the Ciber Café an initiation rite in which they decided to have as their victim their friend Edwin Miguel Juárez Palma."

According to the Chihuahua attorney general, the four defendants took the young man "by deception, they bound his hands and lied to him, telling him that he would be initiated into the sect called 'Sons of Baphomet 1,' unaware he himself would be the 'sacrifice'… they beat him and wounded him with a glass bottle causing him to die."

Quoted by local media, the director general of the State Police, Pablo Rocha Acosta, said that the young man asked to participate in the rite so he could "resurrect as a vampire."

Speaking to CNA, noted exorcist and demonology expert Father José Antonio Fortea warned that "the vampire fad is something that's very close to Satanism."

This fad, he said, "is not just a taste for darkness, but rather a taste for evil, an aesthetic connected to an entire way of looking at life."

"Vampire-ism totally amounts to devil worship," he said.

Chihuahua is one of the states hardest hit by drug trafficking violence in Mexico. Juarez, its most populous city, was considered up until 2011 to be the most violent city in the world.

Fr. Fortea stressed the relationship between a society steeped in violence and the growth of Satanism.

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"The more a society abandons the ways of God, the more cases of Satanism. The more a nation is Christian, there are fewer cases of devil worship," he said.

The Spanish exorcist also explained that one does not spontaneously become a Satanist.

"A person only worships the devil when he has come to the end of a complete process of moral degradation. There's a very big difference between following your own passions and participating in a satanic ritual," he said.

In May 2015, Fr. Fortea coordinated a Major Exorcism of the entire country of Mexico.

The exorcism, which took place in the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, "puts up barriers to demonic action," he said. "But unfortunately, that exorcism doesn't serve to prevent someone who is already morally degraded from approaching the Devil asking for things."

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