A Missouri sheriff says 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 are charged with second-degree murder and other offenses. Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox says the crime appears to be the result of “some kind of honest-to-goodness religious-type episode."

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.

Benton County Jail
Benton County Jail
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