The parents of a four-year-old girl who died last weekend at at rural home near Lincoln, were charged in her death on Christmas Eve.

Mary Shirk Mast and James Andrew Mast were arrested at at Stover residence and booked into the Benton County Jail in Warsaw around 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Mary, 29, was charged with 1st degree domestic assault resulting in serious injury involving a weapon, 1st degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in the death of that child.

Benton County Jail
Benton County Jail

James, 28, was charged with 1st degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in the death of that child and 1st degree domestic assault resulting in serious physical injury.

Both were being held with no bond.

According to Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox, a 4-year-old girl died after being dunked in an icy pond and beaten by two neighbors who claimed it was necessary to remove a “demon."

35-year-old Ethan Mast and 21-year-old Kourtney Aumen were arrested and charged on Sunday with second-degree murder and other offenses.

Deputies were called Sunday to a rural home near Lincoln and found the 4-year-old wrapped in a blanket.

A probable cause statement says she had severe bruising and blisters over her body.

Both Mast and Aumen, booked on Sunday at 1:30 a.m., were being held at the Benton County Jail with no bond. They were charged with 2nd degree murder, 1st degree assault and 1st degree sexual abuse.

A press release from the Benton County Sheriff's Office said on Sunday that James Mast, 28, of a rural Cole Camp residence, stated that his daughter had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank before being taken back into the residence.

Mary S. Mast, 28, the mother of the deceased and a two-year-old male child were also beaten to a severe extent. Mary and the toddler were transported by ambulance to Bothwell Regional Hospital in Sedalia where they were recovering.

The Mast’s two-year-old son and infant son have been placed in protective custody, according to a Facebook post by the Benton County Sheriff's Office on Thursday night.

The post later stated:

"None of the actions contained in this case are condoned by the church they attended. The investigation done so far indicates that this is an isolated incident and NOT the actions of a cult.

"When a crime of this magnitude occurs, it affects everyone in its aftermath from first responders to next of kin, community, church and beyond. This will continue to be an ongoing investigation as we wait for the medical examiner’s report and any further information we may be able to develop in time. Further charges may be sought by Benton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rod Richardson as all the evidence is considered."

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