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At approximately 1 am Sunday morning, officers with the Benton County Sheriff's Office were called to a Cole Camp residence where a 4-year-old girl had been found dead by her father, 28-year-old James Mast.
The first officer to arrive on the scene was Sgt Chris Wilson who, according to the probable cause statement, made contact with James and asked what happened.
Wilson was led to a bedroom where the deceased 4-year-old girl was found wrapped in a pink blanket on the floor with "serve purple bruising" from her neck to her feet, complete with ruptured blisters, which appeared to have been caused by a belt.
Wilson asked James "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."
James was asked where the rest of the family was at which time his wife, 28-year-old Mary Mast and a 2-year-old son were both discovered to have also been badly beaten. Both were transported to Bothwell Regional Hospital in Sadalia for treatment. The youngest child, an infant, was reportedly uninjured.
James went on to tell Wilson that over the period of approximately two weeks, 35-year-old Ethan Mast and 21-year-old Kourtney Aumen, neighbors, had beaten him, his wife, two of their children.
Despite having the same last name, Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox stated that there was no relation. Knox did state however, that aside from being neighbors, the families were known to each other through attendance at the same church.
The probable cause statement when on to outline that over several instances, James and Mary were forced to witness Mast and Aumen beat their children, but had allegedly been told by Mast that they would get the same treatment, or worse, perhaps even be shot, if they attempted to intervene. James told that he had been beaten with a wooden spoon two days earlier for showing compassion for his wife and children.
James further alleged, according to KRCG, that Aumen had stated that if he or his wife provided aid or comfort for the children, or each other, that it would be a sin and Satan would come.
The extent to which James and Mary allegedly obeyed the instructions of Mast and Aumen is sickening. According to reports, they went so far as to perform sex acts on their 4-year-old daughter with a foreign object.
According to court documents, Sunday morning started with Mast and Aumen coming to the Mast residence at approximately 8:00 am at which point Mast is said to have beaten the 2-year-old boy with a wooden spoon. They left the residence and didn't return until approximately 5:00 pm when they began to beat the girl with a leather belt. She is said to have begged her family for relief, but found none.
Mast and Aumen then led the girl and her family to a pond near the home and forced her to stand in the water for a period of time. The daytime high temperature was in the 40s. James reported that he was forced to watch while his daughter was held underwater and still further beaten with the belt and Mast's fist. The 2-year-old was additionally beaten with the wooden spoon.
The girl, still wet, was left on the bank of the pond while everyone returned to the house. At some point during the night, the girl was returned to the residence.
Mast and Aumen have both been booked on one count of second-degree murder, three counts of first degree assault, and one count of first degree sexual assault. They are being held without bond in the Benton County Jail.
After their arrest, Mast and Aumen are both said to have admitted to beating the children and their mother. They additionally admitted to forcing the mother and daughter to a pond where they were further abused.
They are due to appear back in court on January 5 at 8:00 am.
"It's an ongoing investigation," Knox has stated. "There may be more charges pending for more people by the time we finish our investigation."