Vacation Horror Story: The Spring Break Cult Murder

We're talking about the murder of Mark Kilroy by a black magic priest in Matamoros, Mexico in 1989.



Mark Kilroy and three of his friends were in South Padre Island, Texas for spring break in 1989, but by pure misfortune he crossed paths with Adolfo Constanzo, a palo mayombe black magic priest who doubled as a drug cartel boss, who was unhappy with his previous human sacrifice. Mark became his next one. If you like our content, please become a patron to unlock our premium episodes and get our public episodes ad-free!

The satanic panic was all over the news in the 1980s and 1990s. Everyone was convinced that satanic cultists were hiding behind every bush in America, which simply wasn't true, but as with so many other cultural trends in the US, after a certain critical mass of political debate is reached, a person comes along and makes a myth into reality.

Adolfo did exactly that when his gruesome sacrificial altar was discovered in the summer of 1989 in Matamoros, Mexico, just over the border from Brownsville, Texas. A hot party spot for spring break tourists coming over the border from Padre Island, Texas, Matamoros was also a major crossing for drug cartels. Adolfo said he needed the screams of terror to make the most powerful magic, and he grew weary of rival drug gang members who simply wouldn't scream and beg. His instructions to his followers when they went out to find Mark Kilroy was simple: "A student. Someone blonde and soft. Someone I can use. Someone who will scream." 1, 2

The Hernandez drug cartel, a small pot smuggling family in Matamoros, believed in the magic, and brothers Elio and Ovidio Hernandez-Rivera assisted in the ritual murders. They thought the magic made them invisible to the police and invincible versus bullets. Sara Aldrete-Villareal also believed, she was an American honors college student by a day and Adolfo's priestess by night. She performed at least one human sacrifice... a man who offended her was boiled alive after she cut off his nipples with scissors.


1. Gary Cartwright. The Work of The Devil. Texas Monthly. June 1989 

2. Guy Garcia. The Believers: Cult Murders in Mexico. Rolling Stone. June 1989. 

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