Three arrested for child abuse during ‘exorcism’ that resulted in death of a 3 year old
San Jose, California: The San Jose Police Department announced on Friday, May 13, that they had arrested three individuals related to the September 24, 2021 death of three-year-old Arely Naomi Proctor.
Arely's mother, Claudia Hernandez-Santos has been in custody since January 31, 2022 when she was formally charged with child abuse leading to death.
On May 11, 2022, Arely's uncle, Rene Hernandez-Santos and Arely's grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez were both arrested and also charged with child abuse leading to death.
If convicted, they face the possibility of 25-years to life in prison.
In the days leading up to the arrest of Rene Trigueros Hernandez, the pastor at Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas spoke with The Mercury News.
He confirmed that the family had conducted a ceremony that sought to "liberate her of evil spirits" after her mother began to believe that her daughter was possessed because "she would wake up and scream or cry periodically" according to a statement of facts filed on the case.
"If you read the Bible, you'll see that Jesus casts away demons and make sick people healthy again," Mercury News quoted him as saying. "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."
He claimed that during the two-hour ceremony, Arely was not screaming or showing signs of distress. He was upset about the death of his grand daughter, but explained it as "the stuff of God" saying "everything is in the will of God no matter how small or big."
Another pastor at the church, Oscar Alaya who was not present during the exorcism said, "We know we haven't done anything dark, and we know that we have a clean conscience, that we haven't done any harm, that we haven't provoked the death of the girl. As I say, precautions and actions weren't taken to deal with the case. That was something natural that happened."
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner determined that Arely's death was a homicide resulting from "asphyxia due to suffocation." Additionally, she "had visible injuries, including extensive diffuse petechia changes across the face and neck with increased density around the eyes, multiple injuries to her tongue and mouth, multiple linear abrasions on the face and neck, patterned injuries on the neck with numerous bruises to the neck and clavicle region, marked cerebral edema, and multiple blunt force injuries across the chest, back, and extremities. The victim also had internal bleeding to the heart, aorta, pancreas, as well as small and large bowels."
Anyone with information relevant to the case, or similar incidences, are asked to contact the San Jose Police Department at (408) 277-4166 and ask for either Detective Sergeant Vallejo at extension 3810 or Detective Harrington at extension 4365. Those wishing to contact the department through email may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Those wishing to remain anonymous may do so by submitting tips through Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867), by visiting the website, or through the P3TIPS mobile app.
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