Family members of a 3-year-old girl who died during an apparent exorcism hosted in the backroom of a California church have been arrested in connection with her death.
The child, Arely Naomi Proctor, died on Sept. 24, 2021, during the seemingly spiritual ceremony held by relatives who believed she was “possessed by an evil spirit,” court documents said.
The San Jose Police Department in a press release on Friday announced the arrests of her uncle, Rene Aaron Hernandez-Santos; and the child’s grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, who is pastor of the Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas, a tiny Pentecostal church in San Jose. The makeshift house of worship was also searched earlier this week in connection with a separate case involving a missing 3-month-old boy.
Both men are facing charges of child abuse leading to the death of the victim.
Proctor’s mother, Claudia Hernandez-Santos, was also arrested back in January on the same charges. In an interview with police, she claimed to believe her daughter was possessed because she would “wake up and scream or cry periodically,” according to court documents. The girl’s recurring wailing prompted her to seek out help from her brother and father, who agreed to perform an exorcism.
The mother also recalled how she attempted to stick her finger down her daughter’s throat in bid to make her vomit, adding that Arely “fell asleep several times” while she pushed down on her throat with her hand. Eventually, the girl became unresponsive, but her family members did not call for help for another two hours, according to court records.
During an interview with Mercury News last week, Arely’s grandfather said he wanted to “liberate her of her evil spirits,” but decline to provide further details on the exorcism.
There are some deranged people in this world.