Woman Injured in Folk Healer Visit

22 Jan 2002

Woman Injured in Folk Healer Visit

.c The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) - During a ceremony intended to help a 20-year-old woman win back her ex-boyfriend, a folk healer apparently started a fire that left the woman with second- and third-degree burns on her face and torso, authorities said.

The folk healer poured an alcohol-based cologne into a steel bowl over a chopped onion and the man's photograph and then set the combination on fire, Laredo Police Detective Jorge Maldonado said.

The fire flamed out of control, burning Delia Ponce, Maldonado said. She was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Hospital officials would not release her condition.

Sergio Hinojosa, 45, a self-described healer whom Ponce had visited before, conducted the ceremony Thursday. Police are still investigating how Ponce was burned, Maldonado told the San Antonio Express-News.

No one answered the door during the newspaper's visit to Hinojosa's apartment Monday. A middle-age woman waiting outside said she had an appointment.

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