PENSACOLA, FL (KTRK) -- Police in Pensacola, Florida are looking into a triple homicide they believe is tied to witchcraft.
The killings happened on July 28, the same day as the "blue moon." Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says a person of interest in the case is a self-described Wiccan who practices some form of witchcraft, ABC affiliate WEAR-TV reports.
He believes the murders of Voncile Smith, 77, Richard Smith, 49, and John Smith, 47, may have been part of a ritual.
"The method of the murder, blunt force trauma, slit throats, positions of bodies; and then our person of interest has some ties to a faith and/or religion that is indicative of that. Those of you who follow any of that will also note that the time of death we believe on Tuesday also coincides with what's referred to as a blue moon which occurs every three years," Morgan said.
The sheriff's remarks about the investigation and its possible ties to witchcraft are sparking outrage in the Pagan community. A local Wiccan church leader told the station Morgan's remarks are irresponsible and misleading.
"This definitely perpetuates misconceptions," said Keith Vallas, high priest at Triple Moon Wiccan Grove. "We are a peaceful people. We believe in love and taking care of your fellow man. It throws a bad light on all of us and it's going to take us a long time to climb back out from under this rock we've been thrown under."
But Sheriff Morgan stands by his statement.
"It's witchcraft. I'll say that right now. There are different fashions of that. While it doesn't bother me to release a particular thing we most assuredly, you do not want to defame or demean any particular practice if you will," Morgan said.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office is in contact with officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, NAS Pensacola and DHS to see if they can offer any help in its investigation.
"The elements of this case are odd at best," Morgan said.
So far, no arrests have been made.
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