Police have arrested three people for allegedly killing at least five women, eating parts of their bodies and using their flesh to make stuffed pastries known as empanadas that they sold to neighbours in their northeastern Brazil city.
Details of the incident began to trickle out after the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo released a video on its website at the weekend.
In the video Isabel Cristina da Silva, 51, said she and her husband, Jorge Beltrao Negromonte, and his 25-year-old girlfriend, Bruna Oliveira da Silva, had eaten 10 kilograms of human flesh over the course of five days in the city of Garanhuns.
The three suspects belonged to a sect that preached "the purification of the world and the reduction of its population," police inspector Wesley Fernandes in the city of Garanhuns told the Globo TV network.
The newspaper Estado de S.Paulo said Negromonte wrote a 50-page book titled Revelations of a Schizophrenic in which he says he hears voices and is obsessed with the killing of women.
Fernandes said the three were arrested last week and had confessed to the crimes. The five-year-old daughter of one of the alleged victims was also found at the home, according to media reports.
The three allegedly lured women to their house by promising them a job as a nanny. They were tracked down after one of the arrested women used a credit card belonging to a victim who disappeared last month.
Police found the remains of the two women in the backyard of the suspects' house, which enraged neighbours have since burned to the ground.
The trio allegedly had plans for killing another woman living in the nearby city of Lagoa do Ouro, Fernandes said.