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Arrests made after child’s death in backyard church exorcism linked to kidnapping of 3-month-old boy in San Jose

San Jose police have made additional arrests in the September death of a child who died after a supposed exorcism was performed at a backyard church recently linked to the kidnapping of a boy from 3 months.

The 3-year-old child involved in the exorcism died on September 24. Police said in a news release Friday that the child’s mother, Claudia Hernandez-Santos; the child’s uncle, René Aaron Hernandez-Santos; and the child’s grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, are believed to be involved in the death.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office officially ruled the death a homicide, according to NBC Bay Area. The child’s cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation due to suffocation.

The mother was arrested in January and the other two suspects were taken into custody on Wednesday. They were each charged with child abuse resulting in the death of the victim.

Officers were called to a “makeshift church” on a property on South 2nd Street to a report into the death of a child, the news release said.

“First responders arrived at the scene and found the victim unconscious on the church floor. They took lifesaving measures and the victim was then transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead,” he said. said the police.

The child’s family allegedly held an exorcism-like ceremony at the Iglesia Apostoles Y Profetas church, believing the child was possessed by demons because he would wake up screaming and crying, according to court documents obtained by NBC Bay Area. The suspects allegedly held the child for seven hours while forcing him to vomit in an attempt to rid the child of the evil spirit, the news station reported.

The family waited two hours after the child became unresponsive to call for help. Police found the child with bruises around his eyes, face, neck and chest, NBC Bay Area reported. Lawyers for the family were unavailable Friday.

The church where the exorcism took place had been raided in connection with the kidnapping of a 3-month-old boy, according to the news station. The baby was snatched from her family’s home on April 25 and found alive a day later. It’s unclear why the church was searched, but NBC Bay Area reported that the baby’s mother and one of the arrested suspects attended the church.

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