Venezuelan Jose Alberto Alviarez allegedly sacrificed his 80-year-old mother's life in the name of the president's health, Spanish-language newspaper El Universal reports.
During the "religious ritual," which reportedly took place around dawn on Jan. 14 in the state of Tachira, the 40-year-old farmer delivered a fatal blow to Eduvina Alviarez Suarez's head, cut off her hands and arms and set fire to the body in the house they shared, according to several Spanish-language media outlets.
Responding to neighbors' reports of an "irregularity" at the house around 7:30 a.m., authorities discovered the scene and apprehended Alberto, who also suffered burns. He was treated at a local hospital before being taken into custody.
According to neighbors, Alberto confessed to the crime, saying "he did it because God commanded him" and "that only then could President Chavez recuperate," local newspaper La Verdad reports.
Suffering from an unidentified type of pelvic cancer, Chavez has undergone several surgeries and cancer treatments since he was first diagnosed in June 2011. However, complications from recent surgeries have kept the leader out of the public eye for weeks.
Despite Chavez's murky medical outlook, supporters celebrated the president's inauguration in Caracas on Jan. 10. Though Chavez, who was receiving treatment in Cuba at the time, was unable to attend his own swearing-in, thousands gathered in a massive show of support for the re-elected leader.