12/03/2012 06:20 pm ET

Inside A Shrine Devoted To La Sante Muerte, The Saint Of Transexuals, Drug-Runners And Mexican Prisoners

Arely Gonzalez's bedroom is dominated by a giant altar; at its center is a skeleton draped in jewelry and dressed in a sparkling jade gown. She is La Santa Muerte--The Holy Death--the object of Gonzalez's affection, a powerful ally in a precarious life and a source of comfort--even miracles, some say--when nothing else helps.

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