Josh Poltilove, Tampa Tribune, August 4, 2010
A Bartow man fatally stabbed his roommate and drank the victim’s blood, an eyewitness told police.
Mauricio Mendez Lopez, 42, was arrested Wednesday night by Bartow police. He is facing charges including second-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, felony battery and two counts of aggravated assault.
Macario Luna Cruz, 32, was slain Sunday night in his home, 1055 Martin Luther King Blvd.
A witness, identified by police as Mirella Mendez, told investigators that Lopez carried a knife in his right hand and a drinking glass coated in blood in his left hand, a Bartow police affidavit states.
Before fleeing, Lopez “raised the glass in the air and said aloud, ‘. . . this is my secret’ and laughed as he ran away from the residence,” according to the affidavit.
The witness told investigators that “a ritual in Mexico involves the person drinking the blood from a murder victim to prevent law enforcement from being able to find and prosecute them.”
Investigators said that on Sunday night, Lopez stabbed Cruz’s brother, Juan, in the lower back, causing a minor injury, and then returned to the Bartow home and fatally stabbed Macario Cruz. The witness entered the home and saw Macario Cruz in a large pool of blood on the kitchen floor, the affidavit states. Cruz “told her to take care of herself and her children and then closed his eyes.”