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No Bodies Found In Alleged Satanic Burial Ground

August 27, 1985

ATASCADERO, Calif. (AP) _ Police say they found no bodies in digging in one area where children said infants had been buried after being killed during satanic rituals.

Police cordoned off an area Monday near the former home of a fugitive couple charged with 33 counts of child molestation to search in three spots for 10 to 15 bodies, acting police chief Sgt. Bill Watton said.

The rural home 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles was formerly occupied by Rodney Allen Phelps, 45, and his wife Linda, 45. They fled last year after four co-defendants, including their daughter, Deborah McCuan, were sentenced to between 240 and 268 years in prison.

Police said two girls who reported they had been molested told of seeing infants and children die during satanic rituals and later be buried in an 8- acre thicket near the house.

Watton said previous reports that the children may have been killed during the production of ″snuff films,″ movies in which people are purportedly killed during sex, were incorrect.

Investigators instead are looking for evidence of satanic rituals, he said.

Electronic sensing equipment confirmed that something was buried where the children had said the bodies were placed, Watton said.

Watton said the investigation, which will take up to 10 days, has yielded only some unidentified fragments.

Atascadero, San Luis Obispo County and federal authorities have been investigating an alleged child-molestation ring.

Authorities in neighboring Kern County also have alleged that child- molestati on rings exist and say children have reported that babies were sacrificed in ritualistic slayings. However, a five-month investigation has not uncovered any bodies in Kern County.

Last week, more than a dozen Kern County residents filed claims with the county charging that they had been falsely accused of child molestation.

AP-PX-08-27-85 1116EDT

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