PUNO — Police in Peru have seized a mummified human, between 600 and 800 years old, from a former food delivery man who claimed to have had it at his home for three decades.
The mummy was in the isothermal bag the man had once used to deliver food to people’s homes.
The man, 26-year-old Julio Cesar Bermejo, will remain in detention while investigators look into the case, a government official told AFP yesterday.
Bermejo told local media the mummy, who he called “Juanita,” was “like my spiritual girlfriend.”
“At home, she’s in my room, she sleeps with me. I take care of her,” he said in a video that went viral on social media.
Bermejo said his father brought the mummy home almost 30 years ago.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the pre-Hispanic relic was a “mummified adult male individual, presumably from the eastern area of Puno”, a region in the Peruvian Andes some 1,300 kilometres southeast of Lima.
“It’s not a Juanita, it’s a Juan,” a specialist at the ministry affirmed, adding the mummy was of a man at least 45 years old.
The body was wrapped in bandages in the fetal position.
Police found the remains in Bermejo’s bag on Saturday while patrolling a park in the city of Puno, where he had been hanging out with friends.
He denied he was trying to sell the mummy and said he was carrying it around because “my friends wanted to see it.”
The culture ministry said it had taken possession of the mummified remains “with the aim of protecting and preserving this heritage.”
Peru is rich in archaeological sites and objects. Its most visited tourist destination is the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, built in the 15th century near Cusco. — AFP