Mexico City, May 25 : Police in a Mexico City suburb arrested a mother on Thursday for allegedly gouging out the eyes of her five-year-old son in what authorities said appeared to have been a drug-fuelled ritual.
Several relatives were also arrested in connection to the alleged incident.
The boy was taken to a hospital in Nezahualcoyotl, a part of Mexico state bordering Mexico City, in a serious condition early on Thursday morning and later transferred by helicopter to a more specialised facility in the capital, officials said.
Nezahualcoyotl officials said a passing police car was flagged down on the street by someone who reported the incident and when officers entered the home they found the mother in shock with the boy in her arms.
Eight people had been detained and investigators believe the mother herself gouged the boy's eyes out with her fingers, Mexico state prosecutor Isaac Acevedo told local media.
The boy's father was apparently not at home at the time.
The crime appeared to have been part of a ritual, but was not apparently related to the Santa Muerte, or Saint Death cult.
Samuel Cuevas Monroy, Deputy Director Nezahualcoyotl Municipal Police, said the family had been fasting and praying for a week because they believed the world was going to end.
"A woman had asked them to close their eyes to pray, because the boy did not close his eyes, they gouged them out to cleanse them," Monroy added.
The boy's aunt and uncle were also apparently at the house when the adults began using some unspecified drug, according to officials.
Chavez said one witness told police she had passed out under the influence of drugs and when she regained consciousness, the boy's eyes were gone.
The adults have not yet been charged in the case, but are being held pending investigation.
Two children and a 17-year-old were also found at the residence.
In March, authorities in Sonora state arrested eight people for allegedly sacrificing the two boys and an adult woman as offerings to Saint Death, an idol usually depicted as a robed skeleton.
Followers of the cult include criminals and drug traffickers.
While statues of Saint Death are common in many poor Mexican neighbourhoods, officials said no altar or statue of the figure was found in the Nezahualcoyotl home.
Mexico's worst case of ritual sacrifice came with the notorious "narco-satanicos" killings of the 1980s.
Fifteen bodies, many of them with signs of ritual sacrifice, were unearthed at a ranch outside the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.