Uncle and grandfather arrested in ‘exorcism’ that killed 3-year-old girl

The uncle and grandfather of a 3-year-old girl from San Jose were arrested in connection with an “exorcism” that killed her last fall.

The grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, was a preacher at a small church in San Jose where the exorcism and murder reportedly took place, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The girl’s mother, Claudia Hernandez-Santos, 25, was arrested in January and charged with child abuse, resulting in death.

She told police she was worried her daughter was possessed because the girl would wake up screaming or crying “periodically,” the Mercury News reported.

She took the girl to the Iglesia Apostoles y Prophets, in the back of a house in a residential neighborhood. There, she, her uncle and grandfather took turns trying to make the girl vomit by squeezing her neck, abdomen and legs, according to the Mercury News.

San Jose police have arrested the uncle, Rene Hernandez-Santos, 19, and grandfather, Hernandez, 59, on suspicion of child abuse causing the death, the department said Friday in a press release.

The child died around 6:30 pm on September 24, but emergency teams were not called for nearly two hours, the Mercury News said.

San Jose police found the victim unconscious on the ground and attempted life-saving measures. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

The department declined to offer additional details on Friday.

In a Mercury News report published on Monday, the grandfather confirmed that an “exorcism” had been performed and that what had happened was “God’s will.”

Police also responded to the church in April to search for a kidnapped 3-month-old boy who was later found safe, the Mercury News reported.

San Francisco television station KTVU reported that a suspect in the kidnapping met the victim’s grandmother at church and became “obsessed” with the child.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping in connection with the incident.

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