Police in South Korea arrested a pastor and his wife Saturday after three of their four children were found dead.
According to a report by AFP, police say the pair are faith healers who attempted to treat the children’s illnesses only with prayers.
But according to The Korea Herald the couple has been detained on suspicions of assaulting and starving their children to death.
Relatives found the children, aged five, eight and 10, at their home next to the pastor’s church.
Police indicated the children died ten days ago.
When the children showed flu-like symptoms the unordained pastor, identified only by the surname Park, chose to pray over them rather than seek medical attention.
The parents are also accused of beating the sick children to “exorcise” them and made them fast, he added. A preliminary autopsy found multiple bruises on their bodies, but no sign of food in their stomachs.
It is suspected that the children hadn’t eaten since Jan. 23 up until they died between late Feb. 1 or the morning of Feb. 2. The parents said they had started a fast and prayer on Jan. 23.
The couple’s fourth child, a year-old baby, has been placed in protective custody.
According to the Associated Press police say the husband was pastor of an obscure Protestant congregation called Hyungjae (Brother) Church.