The grandfather and uncle of a 3-year-old girl killed last fall during an exorcism at a Northern California church have been arrested this week in connection with her death.
The child died last September after family members performed a ceremony because they believed she was "possessed by an evil spirit," court documents show. The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide caused by asphyxiation.
The San Jose Police Department said on Friday that police arrested the child's grandfather and uncle on charges of child abuse leading to the death of the victim. The child's mother was arrested and charged in January. It was not immediately known if the girl's grandfather and uncle have an attorney who can speak on their behalf.
The grandfather told the Mercury News last week that he performed a ceremony on the child to “liberate her of her evil spirits,” the Associated Press reported. He didn’t reveal all of the details of the exorcism but said his granddaughter was asleep when she got to the church, and he said that the ceremony took two hours.
“If you read the Bible, you’ll see that Jesus casts away demons and made sick people healthy again,” he said. “It’s not when I want to do it, it’s when God, in his will, wants to heal the person. The preacher is like an instrument of God; what we do is what God says.”