A “devil worshipper” allegedly cut out his victim’s heart “while he was still alive” before decapitating him for ritual sacrifice, according to the Daily Mail.

The headless and mutilated body of Marcos Correa was discovered in Amenabar in Sante Fe, Argentina beside a pagan pilgrimage site that honored San La Muerte (Saint Death)—a folk deity venerated in the country.

The authorities have arrested a man identified by local media outlets as Carlos L. for triple aggravated homicide with intent and religious hate. The 34-year-old allegedly often posted satanic images on his social-media accounts.

Speaking with local broadcaster Cronica HD, Correa’s uncle German said: “We are still wondering why he was killed. I link it to a ritual because of the way in which they did it.”

Correa—who is said to have been a homeless drug addict—was last seen on September 27 and was eventually reported missing on October 4.

Police discovered his body at a rubbish dump on October 14 after receiving a tip from an anonymous person. Police only revealed their discovery this week.

Carlos had allegedly revealed details of the brutal saying to people in his personal circle, including the body’s location, according to the Daily Mail.

Correa was reportedly found buried next to a small area used to praise San La Muerte (Saint Death)—a skeletal folk saint worshiped in some areas of Paraguay, Argentina, and the southern part of Brazil.

The figure—which is rooted in Latin American paganism—has been adopted by many Roman Catholics as a venerable figure despite the Church considering its worship contradictory to Christian teaching.

San La Muerte is a separate entity to the similar folk saint Santa Muerte—which happens to be a female skeleton.

Prosecutor Eduardo Lago told La Capital: “Never in my 15 years as a prosecutor have I had to investigate such an abhorrent crime committed with so much hate and cruelty.”

“This is evil in its purest state; it is not insanity, it is a conscious decision for evil.”

Carlos will remain in custody while authorities work the case against him. It is unclear when he is scheduled to have his trial, for which Lago says they have “very solid” evidence.

It turns out that ripping someone’s heart out is not a completely unheard of act around the world, as a man named Yul Liao had his heart torn out in 2014 in the Chinese province of Suizhou. He was attacked and killed before the perpetrator tore out his heart and bit into it after a dispute over a bowl of noodles, according to The Mirror.

Another incident happened in 2015, when a businessman ripped a man’s heart out and ate it to “prove he was not gay”—who eventually apologized to the victim’s family for “exceeding the boundaries of self-defense,” according to the Daily Mail.

The outlet reported:

Andrew Chimboza, 35, who runs a window tinting business, pleaded guilty to murdering Mbuyiselo Manona, 62, in the South African township of Gugulethu last year. 

He told police after he was arrested that he gouged out Mr Manona’s heart and ate it as he lay bleeding to death “to show him that I am not a moffie [gay]”. 

Appearing in court this week, Chimboza told the judge: “I am sorry for what I have done and I have genuine remorse.”  

“I then took a knife and slit his throat and continued to stab him.”

“I was so angry that I did not remember how many times I stabbed him or where.”

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