San Jose police have made additional arrests in the death of a child who died in September after a supposed exorcism at a backyard church was recently linked to the kidnapping of a 3-month-old boy.
The 3-year-old child involved in the exorcism died on September 24. The police said in a new version on Friday that the baby’s mother, Claudia Hernandez Santos; the child’s uncle, Renee Aaron Hernandez Santos; The child’s grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, is believed to be involved in the death.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office has officially ruled the death a homicide, according to NBC Bay Area. The cause of death of the child was determined by asphyxia due to suffocation.
The mother was arrested in January and the other two suspects were detained on Wednesday. Each of them was charged with child abuse, which led to the death of the victim.
The press release stated that officers were called to a “temporary church” on a property south of Second Street to report the death of a child.
“First paramedics arrived at the scene and located the unresponsive victim on the church floor. They began life-saving measures and the victim was subsequently transferred to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead,” police said.
The child’s family was allegedly performing an exorcism ceremony at the Iglesia Apostoles Y Profetas church, believing the child was possessed by demons because the child would wake up screaming and crying, according to court documents obtained by NBC Bay Area. The news station reported that the suspects held the child for seven hours while forcing the child to vomit in an attempt to rid the child of the evil spirit.
The family waited two hours after the child was unresponsive to a request for help. Police reported that the child had bruises around his eyes, face, neck and chest. The family’s lawyers were not present on Friday.
The news station reported that the church in which the exorcism was carried out was searched in connection with the kidnapping of a 3-month-old baby. The child was kidnapped from his family home on April 25 and found alive the next day. It is not clear why the church was searched but NBC Bay Area She mentioned that the mother of the child and one of the suspects had attended the church.