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*** UPDATE *** Claimed ‘demonic possession’ led to Cole Camp child’s murder

*** UPDATE *** Claimed ‘demonic possession’ led to Cole Camp child’s murder

(AP) — A 4-year-old girl died after being dunked in an icy pond and beaten by two neighbors who claimed it was necessary to remove a “demon,” a Missouri sheriff said Tuesday.

Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, are charged with second-degree murder and other offenses. Both are jailed without bond and don’t yet have attorneys, according to court records.

“Based on what I know, I think this could be some kind of honest-to-goodness religious-type episode,” Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox said in a phone interview. The suspects and the victimized family belonged to the same church, but Knox declined to name the church or its denomination.

Deputies were called around 1 a.m. Sunday to a rural home near Cole Camp and found the 4-year-old wrapped in a blanket on a bedroom floor. A probable cause statement from Sgt. Chris Wilson said the girl was already dead and had “severe purple bruising” over her body, along with ruptured blisters.

Knox said the girl’s parents also had been beaten along with a 2-year-old child. An infant son of the couple was apparently unharmed. The mother, 28-year-old Mary Mast, and the toddler are hospitalized.

Still, Wilson asked James Mast “how he could let people do this to his family and he stated they were told (his wife) had a ‘Demon’ inside her and her children would end up just like her if it was not taken care of,”


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