Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo was born on November 1st, 1962 to Cuban immigrant Delia Aurora Gonzalez De Valle, in Miami, Florida. At only 15 Delia found herself widowed and pregnant with her first child. After her husband passed, she moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico and eventually remarried and gave birth to a total of three children. Delia baptized her eldest child Adolfo as a Roman Catholic, though his mother was involved in Palo and Adolfo was heavily influenced.
Palo is also known as the Congo Rules or Las Reglas de Congo. Palo roots lay in the Congo Basin in Central Africa. Kongo slaves were brought to Cuba in large groups and many believe this is how the formal religion was created. The language is composed of Spanish and Bantu or as some say legua.
The original name being Las Reglas de Congo, later changed while in Cuba, as the heavy use of wooden sticks to prepare alters led to the Spanish word, Palo meaning stick. The Palo religion believes in natural earth powers and veneration of the spirits, much like the Catholic religions veneration to the saints. Objects are thought to have powers, mostly sticks and it is believed they have the power of spirits.
Palo has often been nicknamed the evil twin of Santeria. Though there are differences… Santeria has a belief in one god and then multiple lesser gods, much like the Greek Gods. While Palo is mostly the belief of all spirits.
Adolfo and his siblings were moved to Miami Florida in 1972, but soon after arriving, his mother’s husband suddenly died. Struggling to survive with three children, Delia got married again. This husband was heavily involved in drugs and the occult.
Once the family was immersed into the occult beliefs, Adolfo’s mother began to believe that he was psychic as a teenager. Adolfo graduated high school, but did not complete college, although his mother and him were arrested numerous times during this period of time. Mostly minor charges, such as petty theft and shoplifting.
Adolfo refined his petty theft skills once he met a Haitian Palo priest. The Palo priest taught the young man to con people or sell drugs to make considerable profits. Later as an adult, Adolfo Constanzo moved to Mexico, mostly surviving on tarot card readings he performed, he met a few men, these men would become his followers.
The four men, Adolfo Constanzo, Martin Quintana, Jorge Montes, and Omar Orea created a business together. Most of their clients were rich cartel members who would ask for good luck spells. Of course Constanzo obliged and performed rituals for his rich clients, sacrificing animals, goats, snakes, chickens, and it was reported that he had even sacrificed a zebra and a few lion cubs.
By 1984 he had moved to Mexico city and the rituals became quite popular and began attracting the most wealthy within the Mexican society. This led Constanzo to begin stealing human bones from graves. He placed human bones in his cauldron during his rituals to give it strength. He believed his cauldron would become stronger and provide more protection for his small cult with live human sacrifices, this is when he began murdering and mutilating humans.
As the years passed the cult grew in size with a variety of followers and was deemed a full fledged cult. Cartel members, politicians, musicians, police officers, all followed Constanzo and his beliefs and rituals. The cult was then rooted in Matamoros, Tamaulipas which lies on the U.S. and Mexican border. Human sacrifices typically were from a rival drug dealer or cartel.
At one point, Constanzo saw the profit in performing rituals with the cartels, he would have protection and possibly some profits from their success. Approaching the most powerful family, the Calzadas, he demanded to be made a business partner. This family rejected him and after this rejection 7 members of this family went missing. Authorities found signs of some type of ritual at Calzadas office. Later the bodies of the missing were found, but were missing fingers, toes, ears, brains, and one was missing it’s spine.
The rejection didn’t stop Constanzo, he found a new cartel to befriend. He was introduced to Elio and Ovidio Hernandez, they were brothers. Within the same time period, he met a woman named Sara Aldrete, who became the high priestess in the cult. Aldrete would become next in command if Constanzo was away and this was often the case as Constanzo would ship marijuana over the border.
With the support of the Hernandez brothers and 22 year old Sara Aldrete, he moved the cult to a new location in the desert. Rancho Santa Elena, was just 20 miles away from Matamoros. With this new location, the rituals took on more twists and violence and there was more room to store marijuana and cocaine shipments.
In August of 1988, Ovidio Hernandez along with his two year old son, disappeared. It was apparent that they were kidnapped by another cartel. The Hernandez family sought Constanzo’s help and he obliged with a full human sacrifice, which he felt resulted in the safe return of Hernandez and his son.
By the end of 1988, Ovidio Hernandez became an official part of the cult, with a ceremony of ritual bloodletting, prayers to the cauldron. Ovidio joined the others when Constanzo wanted fresh victims as they would hunt their prey.
By spring of 1989, Constanzo believed his spells needed a smart and fresh brain of an American student, so his hunters searched for a young man who would suit their leader’s needs.
The hunters found a young man visiting Mexico on spring break. Outside of a Mexican bar in Matamoros, the hunters abducted U. S. Citizen Mark Kilroy.
Mark Kilroy was a 21 year old pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin. Mark was born in Chicago Illinois in 1968, but moved some time after birth to Santa Fe, Texas. This is where he grew up alongside his brother Keith Kilroy, and parents, James and Helen Kilroy. Mark excelled through his childhood and teenage years, he was very athletic and strong academically.
Mark Kilroys disappearance on March 14th, 1989 was shocking to all around him. Bradley Moore, Bill Huddleston, and Brent Martin accompanied Mark across the border for some spring break bar hopping. When they decided to head back to their car, they lost track of Mark, but realized he had been chatting with a woman from a Miss Tan Line competition. Moore and Martin headed to the car while Huddleston had to urinate. Mark bid his female friend farewell and waited for Huddleston, but once Huddleston was finished, he didn’t see Mark, so caught up with the other two. They all believed Mark went ahead of them and was waiting at the car.
But this wasn’t the case at all. While Kilroy had been standing on the street waiting for Huddleston, he called to a vehicle nearby. Once near the vehicle, he was asked if he needed a ride and then forced in by two men, Serafin Hernandez Garcia and Malio Fabio Ponce Torres. Being athletically fit, Kilroy was able to overpower his abductors and escape, but a second car driven by more cult members intercepted him and handcuffed him.
Mark was left in the second car overnight and was fed in the morning by the ranch caretaker. Constanzo and cult members duct taped his face and mouth, leaving his hands handcuffed behind his back, and placed him in a storage cabin.
During his short time at the ranch, the abductors tortured him and sodomized him before he became a human sacrifice in a ritual. The cult murdered Kilroy with a machete and removed his brain so it could be boiled in the cauldron. Prior to burying him they placed a wire through his spinal column so his bones could be removed easily once he had decomposed. Amputating his legs assisted in burying him. Mark Kilroy’s remains were buried amongst all the others who had been sacrificed before him. After Mark Kilroy’s murder, cult leader Adolfo assured his followers that this sacrifice shielded their drug smuggling from authorities.
At a routine traffic checkpoint on April 1st 1989, authorities noticed a car run directly through the checkpoint. Never stopping and crossing the border directly from Texas into Mexico. The police chose not to chase the vehicle with flashing lights, instead sent an unmarked vehicle to follow it. The man driving this vehicle was one of Mark Kilroy’s abductors, Serafin Hernandez Garcia. He led authorities directly to the location of the ranch. Authorities stayed a distance behind as to not be detected. Serafin left the ranch 30 minutes after authorities had followed him. They decided to search the ranch at this time and found traces of marijuana, cult items and paraphernalia, as well as other evidence pointing to possible criminal activity.
Authorities waited to make any arrests and began collecting evidence, relying on informants and monitoring the Santa Elena ranch. April 9th they made multiple arrests at the ranch, including Elio Hernandez, his nephew Serafin, as well as the caretaker. The caretaker identified Mark Kilroy in a photo shown to him by authorities and Serafin confessed to kidnapping and assisting in Kilroy’s murder. Serafin also identified Constanzo and Aldrete as the leaders of the cult, described the rituals, and the murders that occurred at the ranch.
Serafin led authorities to Mark Kilroys body and it was exhumed.
Mexican Authorities were on a manhunt for cult members, continuously arresting more and more of the members. Finally catching up with Constanzo who was hiding out with four of his followers, a shoot out ensued in a small Mexico City apartment. Constanzo, not wanting to be arrested, ordered a follower to shoot him and Quintana Rodriguez so they would be dead when the authorities made their way into the apartment.
The second in command of the cult Sara Aldrete was arrested after the shootout, she ran out of the small apartment screaming that Constanzo was dead. Aldrete denied any involvement in any of the murders that occurred on the ranch and attempted to convince authorities she was not an actual member of the cult and was simply going through her initiation. She denied ever being in a relationship with the cult leader and claimed in the Mexico City apartment, she had been held hostage. On May 3rd,1994 Sara Aldrete was sentenced to 62 years in prison.
Other cult members’ sentencing varied from 30 to 60 years. Throughout the years, various members of the cult, including Aldrete, speak out to the media, claiming their innocence.
Mark Kilroy’s parents went on to create the Mark Kilroy Foundation. The foundation promotes drug awareness, education and prevention. The foundation has worked heavily with the local government and school systems in their area. Their goal with the foundation is to keep kids distracted when they aren’t in school, like spring or summer break.