When Peruvian police approached a group of three young inebriated men, they weren’t expecting to find a mummified corpse in their possession, hidden in a delivery bag. Taking what he believed to be a mummified girl out for a bit of day drinking with his friends, the mummy’s owner was detained and the archaeological discovery was brought to the appropriate authorities.
The police did a search of their possessions
A man was detained in Peru for carrying an 800-year-old mummified corpse in a food delivery bag.
The man referred to the mummy as his "spiritual girlfriend," but scans later found that the body is, in fact, that of a male. https://t.co/OcPA1fcAzh
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 1, 2023
Police made a shocking discovery after approaching the young men who were acting drunk at the Mantaro viewpoint in Puno, located in the southern part of Peru. The area is known for its archaeological significance, which coincides with what they discovered on the men. With them was a food delivery cooler that held the remains of a mummified human in a fetal position.
The 26-year-old who brought the mummy to their day-drinking location was Julio Cesar Bermejo, a former delivery man. Apparently, he took the mummy, which was wrapped in bandages and still had soft tissue, to show off to his friends. He called the mummy “Juanita” and claimed she is a kind of “spiritual girlfriend” to him. “At home, she’s in my room, she sleeps with me. I take care of her,” he said in a video.
His family had the mummy for decades
Peruvian delivery man carried ancient mummy around in his bag https://t.co/i0C92OUQcu
— BBC Science News (@BBCScienceNews) February 28, 2023
Bermejo explained to the police that the mummy belonged to his family, his father having gained possession of it after paying 2,000 Peruvian sol ($527 USD) about 30 or 40 years ago. He said that at the time, it was “a lot of money.” Apparently, his father had previously tried to donate the mummy to a museum but his efforts had failed. Instead, the family decided to keep the mummy, housing it in a box that sat next to their television.
The Ministry of Culture helped identify it
A Peruvian delivery man was found to have been carrying a bandaged mummy following a search by local police officers https://t.co/8rI6ImpF2y
— Evening Standard (@EveningStandard) March 1, 2023
The police confiscated the mummy from Bermejo and handed it over to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture “with the aim of protecting and preserving this heritage.” Following an investigation into the mummy, the Ministry was able to identify that the remains were not female, but instead belonged to a man who lived past the age of 45 and was around five feet in height. They were also able to determine that the remains were approximately 600 to 800 years old and likely from the district of Patambuco.
Bermejo and his two friends, aged 23 and 26, were detained since the police discovered them drunkenly harboring a mummy. They are now being investigated for possible crimes against the country’s cultural heritage.