Slaying Leads To Trick-Or-Treating Ban

Santa Fe, USA - Officials at a pueblo in New Mexico banned Halloween trick-or-treating, saying they were concerned cult activity was behind a gruesome killing last month.

Jemez Pueblo Gov. Joshua Madalena said Tuesday the ban was instituted "because of the violence that happened," The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

In September, officials charged Lucas Michael Ray Steven Toledo, 22, of Jemez Pueblo, with stabbing 21-year-old Matthew Panana of Jemez Pueblo to death, then trying to disembowel him.

"That really made me and my tribal council and my religious leaders step back and take a look at where are we now," Madalena said. "The religious leaders had told me that this (Halloween) is not a part of our culture. Many of them are older men and stated that, 'When I was young, we didn't have this. When did it start? And look at now, you know. We've lost control.'"

Madelena said he didn't know whether a cult was involved, but that angle was being investigated, the New Mexican said.

"Because the way the whole event happened, I'm suspicious. This type of activity is very prominent right now," he said. "It's not just Jemez, but other tribes ... other communities are dealing with these types of issues. We just want to make sure that our community is safe."

He said his office sent out notices to tribal members and others in Jemez Pueblo near Albuquerque, explaining the ban on trick-or-treating Sunday. Madalena said the ban was to ensure public safety and encourage pueblo members to return to native American traditions.