An uncle and grandfather are joining a mother behind bars after a three year-old-girl was killed during a horrific, 12-hour exorcism.
Claudia Hernandez, 25, of San Jose, California, was first charged in January for the death of her daughter, Arely Hernandez, who she believed possessed a demon, court documents show. Following the horrific death, Hernandez posted a lengthy video to YouTube where she casually claimed her daughter’s death “is what it is.”
On Friday, investigators additionally charged Rene Aaron Hernandez-Santos, 19, and Rene Trigueros Hernandez, 59, for their roles in the fatal ritual, the New York Post reports.
According to an affidavit, the mother believed her three-year-old daughter contained an “evil spirit” because she often heard the child crying during the night. The morning of Sep 24, 2021 she and the girl’s uncle drove Arely to Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas church where Hernandez’s father was a pastor. Hernandez later told police that she and her brother began performing maneuvers, like holding her daughter by the neck and waist, to help her “throw up” and “get the spirit out.”
Hernandez’s father later arrived to the church and the three adults continued physically trying to force the girl to vomit. According to an affidavit, Hernandez admitted that during the demonic procedure, she decided to “stick her finger down the victim’s throat and squeezed the victim’s neck to induce vomiting.” She also said Arely “fell asleep several times” as she pressed on her throat.
Around 8 pm, Hernandez called the police to tell them that her daughter was dead. The affidavit claims that first responders noticed Arely had bruising around her eyes, neck, and chest, and Hernandez admitted the family waited at least an hour to call 911 once they noticed the child had become lifeless.
According to arrest records, Hernandez was detained on Jan. 31, just days after posting her nonchalant video about the incident, and was charged with a felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death.
Though Hernandez’s father, Reno, was not initially charged for the girl’s death, he told the San Jose Mercury-News at the time: “If you read the Bible, you’ll see that Jesus casts away demons and made sick people healthy again… 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.”
Both Arely’s uncle and grandfather have now been charged with felony abuse for participating in the ritualistic torture. Hernandez remains in jail and is scheduled for court June 13.