Last September, a small church in San Jose, California, performed a ritual on a 3-year-old girl to “liberate her of her evil spirits.”
During the private ceremony involving Arely Naomi Proctor and her family members, she was reportedly held at her waist and neck in an attempt to get her to vomit the evil spirit out of her body.
Now, Proctor’s grandfather, who is also the pastor of the church, has admitted to his part in the attempted exorcism. “If you read the Bible, you’ll see that Jesus casts away demons and made sick people healthy again,” Pastor Rene Huezo of Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas 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.”
The ceremony allegedly went on for hours, resulting in severe injuries to the girl’s eyes, face, neck, and chest. The injuries caused by the attempted exorcism would be too much as Proctor “died of asphyxia due to suffocation,” according to the medical examiner, KTVU Fox 2 reported.
Court documents say Proctor’s mother Claudia Hernandez told police she believed her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit “because the victim would wake up and scream or cry periodically.”
Hernandez has been arrested and charged with assault on a child resulting in death for allegedly withholding food from her daughter and squeezing her neck during the ritual ceremony, according to The Mercury News.
During the ceremony, Huezo along with Proctor’s uncle were allegedly holding her down, but neither have been charged with any crimes. Huezo confessed that Proctor’s death has caused him a lot of pain, but he trusts what happened was “the will of God.”
“[I]t’s the stuff of God, and everything is in the will of God no matter how small or big,” Huezo commented.
Court documents allege the victim’s mother did not call 911 until up to two hours after Proctor’s death, The Mercury News noted. Oscar Ayala, a preacher at the church who was not at the attempted exorcism, said the church members have a “clean conscience.”
“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,” Ayala said. “As I say, precautions and actions weren’t taken to deal with that case. That was something natural that happened.”
“Maybe, I don’t know, we didn’t take the most logical approach, and we should’ve taken precautions that should’ve been taken to, like, take her to a hospital to make sure she’s okay,” Ayala continued.
Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas, which translated means apostles and prophets church, was also at the center of a child kidnapping investigation last month. The 3-month-old boy was allegedly kidnapped by two people who knew the child’s mother from Iglesia Apostolos y Profetas. According to The Mercury News, “church members said they knew nothing about [the kidnapping].”