California mother accused of shoving sand in daughter’s mouth and eyes during attempted exorcism
FERNDALE, Calif. – Police in California’s Humboldt County arrested a woman accused of biting and choking her daughter during an attempted exorcism.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 9 a.m. Friday to report that a woman was attacking a child at Centerville beach in Ferndale, which is about 115 miles north of San Francisco.
The caller said the woman was trying to perform an exorcism by stripping the child naked and shoving sand in her mouth and eyes. The woman, later identified as 45-year-old Kimberly Felder, said she was trying to remove demons from the child.
Police said a crowd of 10 to 12 people witnessed the incident. A man, later identified as John Marciel, attempted to restrain Felder, struggling with her on the ground as she continued her attack on the child.
Even though Marciel was trying to contain her, Felder used a piece of driftwood to hit the child in the head. He stayed on the phone with 911 operators during the incident. Marciel had decided to take some out-of-town visitors to the beach before going to his son’s high school graduation.
Deputies who arrived at the scene moments later pulled Felder away from the child and placed her in handcuffs.
The child was taken to an area hospital to receive treatment for several injuries, including a severely injured ear, police said. She was placed in protective custody. Felder was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse and aggravated mayhem.
Police said the child may have been killed if Marciel hadn’t intervened.
“The worst thing was when we got the child away and into the sheriff’s truck, she said people drove by and nobody stopped,” Marciel told The Associated Press.
“When you see something like this, it shakes your foundation and faith in people.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story