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The parents of a 4-year-old Missouri girl were charged in her death last week.
James Mast, 28, and Mary Mast, 29, were arrested in Stover, Missouri, on Christmas Eve, Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox said in a news release.
Mary is charged with compromising the welfare of a first-degree child and causing death and first-degree domestic violence, the sheriff said.
James is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child and causing death in his first year, as well as endangering the welfare of a first year and causing serious personal injury.
Both are being held without bail. The couple’s request to attend their daughter’s funeral was rejected by Deputy Judge Mark Brandon Pilley during her trial on Monday, ABC News reported. A hearing was scheduled for Monday, January 5 for James and Mary, who reportedly pleaded not guilty.
The other children of the couple, a baby and a 2-year-old boy, were taken into police custody.
Official Press Release
In the official press release, Knox said the sheriff’s office had received numerous phone calls alleging that “the 4-year-old’s death and circumstances” were “acts of worship” and that “there are” references to God and damnation. “.
However, Knox said that “the investigation so far shows that this is an isolated incident and NOT a cult act.” While the masts were attending a church, “none of the acts involved in this matter will be tolerated by the church they attended,” he said.
Affects on Family Members
“When a crime of this magnitude occurs, it affects everyone from first responders to family members, the community, the church and beyond,” the statement said. “This will remain an ongoing investigation while we await the coroner’s report and any additional information that we can develop in a timely manner.”
On December 20, the sheriff’s office announced that the package in Benton County was delivered shortly before 1:00 a.m. about the death of the 4-year-old boy. In a press release at the time, Knox said James told police that “his daughter was beaten, thrown into a pond and frozen on the bench before being returned to the residence.”
Mary and the couple’s two-year-old son “were also brutally beaten,” the sheriff’s office said, and were taken to Bothwell Regional Hospital.
Mast’s neighbors, Ethan J. Mast, 35, and Kourtney T. Aumen, 21, were arrested at the time, according to the report, when “various crimes were charged,” including second-degree murder. . A B C. New.
According to Knox’s press release, Ethan is said to have nothing to do with John and Mary, according to multiple reports.
According to a likely ABC News court hearing, Mary and James told police that Ethan and Aumen told them they would be beaten or killed if they tried to interrupt Ethan and Aumen by beating their daughter.
The statement filed by the court indicated that when asked how he could allow people to beat his family, James said that “they told him that (his wife) had a ‘demon’ inside her. And that her children would have become what she would have been if they hadn’t cared for her. ”
Ethan reportedly admitted to investigators that he hit the 4-year-old girl with a leather belt before dipping her into a pond behind the house.
It was not immediately clear whether James, Mary, Ethan or Aumen had legal representation at the time.