PALMDALE, Calif. — A woman who claimed to be a psychic persuaded a 12-year-old girl to steal jewelry from her family and throw it into a cauldron to lift a curse and appease evil spirits, authorities said Friday.
Jackeline Lopez, 42, of Palmdale was arrested last month for investigation of extortion. She has since posted bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 18.
Lopez did not return a message left on an answering machine at her home.
The girl, a classmate of Lopez's daughter, stole more than $10,000 worth of unique jewelry from her home before her parents realized something was going on and questioned their children, sheriff's Detective Luan Dang said.
"The girl was scared and came out with the truth and that's when we were called," Dang said.
Three pieces of the jewelry were recovered at a pawn shop, and authorities were looking for a man who claimed some other pieces from the shop, said Deputy Aaron St. George.
The girl met four or five times with Lopez in her garage filled with the cauldron, candles, chalk outlines, beads, dolls and replicas of human skulls, authorities said.
"She had it set up Hollywood-style," St. George said.
Dang said he couldn't disclose if the curse involved death, harm or bad luck, but he did say it targeted the girl and there was a deadline involved.
The girl was frightened into stealing the jewelry and isn't considered a suspect, he said.
Lopez, her husband and three children live in a middle-class neighborhood in Palmdale, 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
There were no signs visible from the street advertising a psychic or palm reader, St. George said.
When Lopez was arrested in September, she was on probation after pleading no contest to petty theft, the Antelope Valley Press said.
Deputies want to know if there were other possible victims in the psychic case. Pawn shops in the area have been alerted to watch out for other items.Photos of the crime scene courtesy of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.