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Delivery man caught carrying ancient mummy in Peru

March 4, 2023 10:31 PM


Police in Peru have seized a mummified human between 600 and 800 years old from the portable cool bag of a man who claimed it was his 'girlfriend', stated a media report.

Julio Cesar Bermejo, 26, a former food delivery man, claimed to have had the mummy at his home for three decades – and even slept with it in his bed. 

'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 was approached by police at the Mantaro viewpoint in the Peruvian city of Puno, known for its important archaeological significance. 

Although mummification is synonymous with Egypt, some of the world's oldest mummies date back 7,000 years to South America. 

Bermejo will remain in detention while investigators look into the case, a government official told AFP on Tuesday.

Local resident Jhan commented: 'In which virtual store do you buy these things?', while Gabriela joked: 'My mummy order hasn't arrived, what should I do next?' 

Another, Juan Carlos, said: 'So he can't take his mummy out for a walk anymore?' 

Bermejo told local media that the mummy – who he called 'Juanita' and referred to as 'she' – was 'like my spiritual girlfriend' even though the remains once belonged to a man, according to authorities. 

According to the former delivery man, his father brought the mummy home 30 or 40 years ago, after plans to donate it to a museum failed. 

His family bought it for 2,000 Peruvian sol (£434), he said – at the time 'a lot of money'.  According to Peru's Ministry of Culture, the pre-Hispanic relic was a 'mummified adult male individual'.

It was 'presumably from the eastern area of Puno', a region in the Peruvian Andes some 1,300 kilometers (more than 800 miles) southeast of Lima.

The remains appear to be well-preserved, suggesting it dates from an era with efficient embalming practices.  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 at time of death. 

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. Bermejo was reportedly one of three men drinking alcohol at the location before they were approached by police. 

The body was found wrapped in bandages in the fetal position inside the bag, branded with the name PedidosYa, a delivery service akin to Deliveroo that serves Latin American countries. 

But Bermejo 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'. 

Puno is close to the Atacama desert along the west coast of Chile and Peru, an area of extreme aridity which has preserved human remains and cultural materials from thousands of years ago. 

Scientists think the Atacama looks similar to the dusty plains of Mars, which is why it's been used as a proxy for Mars research and a location for shooting TV and film, such as series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. 



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