Disclaimer: This report contains graphic descriptions of violence
Parents who allegedly saw their 4-year-old daughter being fatally beaten and drenched in ice water by neighbors determined to kidnap an alleged “demon” were denied permission to attend the child’s funeral.
Mary Mast, 29, and James Mast, 28, of Lincoln, Missouri, pleaded not guilty on Monday to child endangerment charges linked to allegations they allowed their neighbors to conduct an “event. religious type ”which resulted in the death of the girl, according to local media reports. The couple’s newborn and 2-year-old son have been placed in temporary foster care after the Masts were taken into custody, according to a press release from Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox.
Neighbors Ethan Mast, 35 (no connection to parents), and Kourtney Aumen, 21, have been charged with second degree murder, three counts of first degree assault and sexual abuse for the death of the ‘child last week. Both families are members of the same church, which has not been identified. None of the defendants have a lawyer, according to media reports.
Officials said Ethan Mast and Aumen told investigators they used a leather belt and a wooden spoon to beat the child and his little brother to eliminate “the demon” before taking him away. in a nearby pond on a day when temperatures were barely above freezing. .
Authorities say James Mast told investigators the beatings lasted around two weeks and that they were forced to perform “sexual acts” on their 4-year-old with a “foreign object”. they would be beaten or “go to hell.” They say Ethan Mast and Aumen watched them on surveillance cameras inside the house but turned them off when they came to beat the family they were judging “Possessed.” Ethan Mast and Aumen deny the charges and claim that videotapes of the couple beating their own children prove their innocence.
According to court documents obtained by KRCG, Mary Mast said she also plunged her daughter into the frozen pond in an attempt to get rid of her supposed demons after being convinced that she too was possessed and that her child of 4 years. had essentially inherited the devil from her. When asked why she allowed this to happen, Mary Mast told investigators, “This is a huge thing from God that they convinced us of.
The Sheriff’s Department listed the charges on its Facebook page. “Mary has been charged with endangering a child’s well-being in the first degree, resulting in death (Felony A) and assault in the first degree (Felony A),” the sheriff’s Facebook page says of Benton County. “James is charged with endangering the welfare of a first degree child resulting in death (Felony A) and endangering the welfare of a first degree child resulting in serious injury physical (Felony B). “
The two are being held without bail until a bail hearing on Jan.5, the sheriff says.
Benton County Sergeant Chris Wilson investigated the scene and wrote in the probable cause statement that he asked the girl’s father “how he could let people do this to his family and he said that they had been told that his wife had a ‘demon’ in her and in her. children would end up like her if we didn’t take care of her.
The sheriff warned that the church does not tolerate the events that led to the child’s death. “I have received numerous letters, calls and emails of concern regarding this child’s death and the surrounding circumstances as being the actions of a cult,” the sheriff wrote in the press release. “In interviews with investigators and the media, there have been references to God and demons … The investigation conducted so far indicates that this is an isolated incident, NOT actions of ‘a sect.
The dead child was found covered with dark purple bruises and ruptured blisters inside the parental home on December 20, although it is not known when the child died. The child’s parents and 2-year-old brother were also beaten by neighbors and told police they were told they would be shot if they tried to intervene.
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