Home News Court docs detail brutal 20-hour exorcism killing of toddler by family members

Court docs detail brutal 20-hour exorcism killing of toddler by family members

Arely Proctor, a 3-year-old found dead on the altar of a California church in 2021, tried desperately to escape her family members as they carried out a brutal 20-hour exorcism that would ultimately kill her, according to new court documents.

The toddler begged for her life and tried to fight off “three trusted adults” — her mother, Claudia Hernandez, her uncle Rene Aaron Hernandez Santos, and her grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez — as they abused her under the guise of casting out a demon, KRON reported.

“While this assault was ongoing, Arely struggled to escape from her abusers. The victim repeatedly said ‘No!’” Deputy District Attorney Rebekah Wise wrote in a 50-page memorandum.

Arely also told her mother, “I love you,” as she battled for survival. Her body, covered at the time in injuries and bruises, was later found on Sept. 24, 2021 inside the Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas, a makeshift church built on a residential property in San Jose. Claudia told a police officer at the time that her daughter was “possessed,” explaining that Arely’s “eyes were different” and “empty.” She added that she tried to shove her fingers into her daughter’s mouth to induce vomiting, a move she believed would force the demon out of her, but the tot responded by biting her instead.

Claudia and her brother then brought Arely to the church, where their father served as the pastor, around 7 a.m. the same morning, according to the memorandum. There, all three family members “forcibly grabbed her by her neck, torso, back, and legs.” In addition to smothering her “by repeatedly attempting to pry open her mouth to make her vomit,” her mother, uncle and grandfather repeatedly knocked her unconsciousness and at times “held her with so much force that she had internal bleeding and injuries.”

Once Arely threw up, they placed her on the floor. That’s when her mother claimed she’d stopped breathing.

“Claudia said God made her understand that Arely was not coming back and was gone,” the document states.

A medical examiner later determined that the child succumbed to mechanical asphyxiation and smothering, which resulted in a range of brutal injuries including brain swelling, blood in the lungs, neck injuries and wounds inside her mouth.

Claudia was arrested in January 2022, while her brother and uncle were arrested and charged in connection with case a few months later.

A judge on Tuesday was slated to rule whether the defendants would face trial but pushed the decision back until May in order to allow all the attorneys to submit briefs arguing whether he has seen sufficient evidence to uphold the charges.


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