Voodoo ritual
Voodoo ritual was developed centuries ago by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean - Representational image Reuters

In a very disturbing case, a mother from Massachusetts, is facing charges for allegedly killing her two young sons.

Latarsha Sanders allegedly stabbed Edson 'Marlon' Brito, 8, and Lason Brito, 5, more than 50 times. Prosecutors believe that the murder was part of a "Voodoo ritual" – an animistic religion practiced in Benin as well as parts of Nigeria, with variants practised in America and the Caribbean, including Haiti. The practices were developed centuries ago by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean.

The 43-year-old mother was arrested on Monday, 5 February, after police went to the apartment on Prospect Street and found bodies of two children. Sanders initially blamed her 16-year-old daughter for the killings, saying she "wanted a little blood".

She also alleged that her husband was behind the murders, but later admitted that she did it, the Daily Mail reported.

She told investigators that she first killed the eight-year-old by stabbing him a number of times but realised that his blood was not enough for the ritual, so she killed the five-year-old as well.

"We believe, based upon her comments, that she was involved in some sort of rituals that she believed in," Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said, who also suspect that the children could have been dead as long as two days before the accused asked a neighbour to call 911.

"Suffice it to say, it's something she referred to throughout her life to other people in her family, or at least for the last couple of years... We don't have a lot of clarity to a lot of the things she was saying at this point," Cruz added.

Meanwhile, it was reported that investigators are also looking at other angles behind the gruesome murders, trying to find if there was any another motive behind it. Sanders has been held without bail.

Although the mother-of-three had never been diagnosed with mental illness, her mother Earline said that her daughter is not mentally stable.

She said that the accused was obsessed with the "Illuminati" – a name referring to an Enlightenment-era secret society founded in May 1776 and added that Sanders had always spied on neighbours using a baby monitor.

The incident comes on the heels of another case in which two women allegedly burnt and permanently disfigured a five-year-old girl during a voodoo ritual.

Investigators said the two accused had said that they were trying to remove a demon from inside the little one's body through the ritual.