The little girl’s mother reportedly told police she was concerned that her daughter was “possessed” because she would wake up in the middle of the night crying or screaming, according to reports

Authorities say a 3-year-old child was tortured and killed by family members during an exorcism ceremony, and her mother has been arrested in connection with her death. Investigators suspect the youngster died inside a church in San Jose, Calif., last October, according to court records prepared by Deputy District Attorney Rebekah Wise and obtained by KRON-TV. Claudia Elisa Hernandez, 25, told police on Sept. 23, 2021, that she was frightened that her daughter was “possessed” because she would frequently wake up crying or screaming in the middle of the night, according to the station.

Hernandez, the girl’s pastor grandfather, and her uncle transported her to a church the next morning, when they reportedly took part in the fatal ceremony. For several hours, the adults allegedly held the toddler by her neck, chest, and legs. According to the outlet, they also shoved their fingers and hands down her neck in an attempt to make her vomit. According to KRON, the girl died following a 12-hour exorcism during which she received “various injuries around her eyes, face, neck, and chest.”

The prosecution added, “She [Hernandez] strangled her many times to the point where the victim went unconscious, she pushed her hands down her throat, and she continued this line of conduct for almost a whole day.” The family apparently contacted 911 about two hours after she died. According to the station, the toddler’s death was declared a homicide due to asphyxia and smothering. Hernandez was the only person detained in February after a peculiar 40-minute YouTube video in which she reflected on her daughter’s life and death. Hernandez added, “I would always tell her that I loved her and make sure to show her so much love.”

She continued, “It’s very hard now because I went from having her every day to not having her at all.”

“To think that I won’t get to see her grow up the way I envisioned she would… but it’s good because I know she’s in a better place. God knows why he permits such things to happen “Hernandez stated. “I could sit here and be negative about things and say things like, ‘I wish I could go back and do this and that,’ but it’s pointless because I can’t change what is.” “It is what it is,” she added. The station adds that the prosecution urged the judge to grant Hernandez bail, citing court documents.

Wise stated, “She was born in El Salvador, has little links to the community, and is seen as a high flight risk.” Hernandez has been assigned a public lawyer, according to court documents. She is still in custody, accused of criminal assault on a kid with force likely to cause serious physical injury. Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 13.