Four-Year-Old Allegedly Killed by Neighbors Trying to Exorcise 'Demon'

A 4-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her neighbors who were trying to exorcise a "demon" from her body.

According to a press release from the Benton County Sheriff's Office in Missouri, the 4-year-old girl was found dead by her father at around 1 a.m. local time on December 20, and her father "stated that his daughter had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank before being taken back into the residence."

According to KOLR News in Missouri, court documents showed that upon arriving at the scene on December 20, James Mast showed officers his daughter, who was wrapped in a pink blanket on the floor, with multiple bruises across her body. Investigators determined that the bruises appeared to be belt marks.

"Mary S. Mast, 28, the mother of the deceased and a two-year-old male child were also beaten to a severe extent. Mary and the toddler were transported by ambulance to Bothwell Regional Hospital in Sedalia where they are recovering," the press release said.

Police Line
Crime scene tape is stretched around the front of a home where a man was shot on May 28, 2017 in Chicago. In Missouri, a 4-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her neighbors on December 20, who were trying to exorcise a "demon" from her body. Scott Olson/Getty

When asked how the injuries happened, James Mast told deputies that their neighbors, 35-year-old Ethan Mast (no relation) and 21-year-old Kourtney Aumen caused them, and according to KOLR, the probable cause statement said that Mast and Aumen also went to their neighbor's home around 8 a.m. local time that morning and beat their 2-year-old son.

"I asked how he could let people do this to his family, and he stated that they were told [the mother] had a "demon" inside her, and her children would end up just like her if it was not taken care of," court documents said, according to KOLR.

The court documents also showed that the girl's father said that Ethan Mast and Aumen would threaten him if he did not comply. According to KOLR, the father also told police that if he or his wife tried to comfort their children it would be considered a sin and Satan would come for them.

Ethan Mast and Aumen admitted to beating the children and their mother after being arrested, and were charged with second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual abuse.

A few days after Ethan Mast and Aumen were arrested, on Christmas Eve, the girl's parents were arrested in connection with the death of their child.

"Mary is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Domestic Assault in the First Degree (Felony A). James is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Serious Physical Injury (Felony B)," the press release said.

Newsweek reached out to the Benton County Sheriff's Office and the Benton County Circuit Clerk's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.