‘Spiritual healer’ allegedly burned man’s feet with coals

OKEECHOBEE — On Tuesday, March 13, a 34-year-old Okeechobee man reported the injuries he had incurred after he sought help from a spiritual healer to alleviate back pain.

According to an incident report by Deputy Tim Miller, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), at approximately 10:26 p.m. on March 13, he responded to the 3500 block of Northwest 10th Avenue in regards to a personal injury complaint.

Upon arrival, Deputy Miller was informed by the complainant that they contacted a spiritual healer named Vidal out of Palm Beach County. The complainant apparently had been unable to walk due to a back injury which prompted them to call Vidal to perform his services on them and the family for the amount of $300.

The healing was reportedly performed on March 10, where Vidal supposedly, “used a kind of heated coal wrapped in a towel,” on the man’s feet. Apparently when Vidal removed the towel, the complainant had sustained burns on their feet. Vidal then supposedly put some type of plant material on his feet and provided the antiseptic “Violeta de Genciana” to the complainant and family. The report also stated that supposedly Vidal stated he would help cover any medical expenses but has been unreachable since he left the family’s residence.

The complainant’s wife informed Deputy Miller that she spoke to a woman at a fuel station who provided her with Vidal’s phone number and stated he was a renowned healer. The two daughters of the couple reportedly told Deputy Miller a similar story about Vidal’s visit and that he also used some sort of herbal water on them as part of the healing process.

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue (OCFR) was also present on scene and reportedly began to treat the man whose feet appeared to be swollen and injured. The man’s wife provided a phone number to someone named Juan who supposedly knew Vidal. Juan reportedly informed dispatch that he was not close friends with Vidal nor knew his last name but was able to provide Vidal’s grandson’s license plate number. The license plate information came back to someone named Jose Herrera out of Lake Worth.

The report concluded that dispatch contacted Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) who relayed back that the agency had no information on Vidal. Vidal was unable to be identified by law enforcement and Deputy Miller reported that he was going to contact the state attorney’s office to speak with them in regards to the criminality of the case. A supplemental report will be included later if any more information comes to light in regards to the case.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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