Malaysian toddler dies in ‘exorcism’: police

A three-year-old girl was apparently smothered to death by eight people during an exorcism ritual in Malaysia on Sunday night.

Local newspaper The Sun Daily reports that

The toddler, identified only as Choy, died after being pinned down by her parents, relatives and the family maid with their bodies during a ritual ostensibly to chase away evil spirits in the family.

The child was already dead when police, responding to a distress call received from the child’s uncle, stormed into the master-bedroom on the upper floor of the family house in Taman Bukit Minyak here at about 10pm.

Central Seberang Perai district police chief ACP Azman Abd Lah said the police team found the family members covered underneath a blanket and in the dark.

“At that time, they were performing the ritual by pinning down the little girl with their bodies,” he told reporters here today.

Azman said the policemen quickly pulled out the victim who was trapped underneath the relatives.

The child’s body was still warm but she was already dead, believed from asphyxia.

Police then detained all eight suspects, aged between 16 and 67, including the victim’s parents, her grandmother, uncle and aunt, two cousins and the maid.

According to the BBC

A local newspaper said the ritual lasted 20 hours, but police could not confirm the length of time.

‘Ritual Book’

In a later report The Sun Daily says that police are investigating the contents of a ritual book found in the house:

Central Seberang Perai Assistant Commissioner Azman Abd Lah said the police are analysing the Chinese writing to understand the ritual that was carried out by the family members in their house here on Sunday night – which led to the death of the child named Chuah Wan Xuan.

The Associated Press explains that

Belief in the supernatural has long been entrenched among Malaysia’s main Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic communities, though occult rituals have waned in recent decades.

Deaths linked to such rituals are occasionally recorded. Two Malay cousins were sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for killing the parents of one of them during a spiritual cleansing ritual in that involved beating the slain couple with brooms and motorcycle helmets.

Conviction upheld in ‘exorcism’ torture death of 13-month-old girl

Religion News Blog — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man found guilty in the 2008 beating death of his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter.

In May 2010 Blaine Keith Milam, who was 20 at the time, was sentenced to die by lethal injection for killing 13-month-old Amora Carson, the daughter of his girlfriend, Jessica Carson.

KLTV report, Dec. 3, 2008

The child, Amora Bain Carson, was beaten with a hammer, sexually assaulted, and bitten more than 20 times.

Too many injuries

During Milam’s trial forensic pathologist Dr. Keith Pinckard testified there were too many injuries suffered by the 13-month-old to give a definitive cause of death.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph said

Pinckard testified Amora’s injuries constituted the worse case of child abuse he had ever seen.

The doctor told jurors Amora had 18 breaks in her ribs and at least 24 human bite wounds covering her body.

Dr. Pinckard said it appeared she had been strangled as well as having suffered multiple skull fractures, brain injuries, a torn liver, her arms and legs had been twisted to the point of breaking, her retinas detached and internal injuries from apparently being sexually assaulted with an object authorities believe was a pipe wrench.

The Longview News-Journal says that though his conviction was upheld Milam still has other appellate avenues, including a Write of Habeas Corpus pending in the 4th Judicial District Court, and he may seek a direct appeal as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jessica Bain Carson

In April last years Carson received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole after a jury convicted her of capital murder.

Defense attorneys contended at the time that Carson was dominated by Milam, and that he convinced her the child was possessed by a demon. However, special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said the exorcism was Carson’s idea, rather than the product of brainwashing by Milam.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that the couple bludgeoned the little girl to death with a hammer and other objects and bit her more than 20 times in the most grotesque murder the seasoned officers can remember.

Officers found the girl after they responded to a 911 call regarding a child that was not breathing.

The couple told detectives multiple stories of how the child suffered the injuries — ranging from a car accident to an attack by the family’s dogs. Milam and Carson also told officers someone must have harmed they child when they had left it unattended, and later said the child beat itself on the head with a hammer.

Officials said Carson then told them Milam was performing an exorcism that went badly and then the two drove to Henderson to pawn some items to afford a priest to exorcise the child. Investigators determined the child was already dead when they two left their home.

Belgium court charges six people in deadly exorcism of Muslim woman

Latifa Hachmi A court in Brussels opened the trial of six people charged in connection with the 2004 murder of a young Muslim woman in a deadly act of exorcism, a practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person believed to be possessed.

The woman was reportedly deceived into believing that she could not have children because she was possessed and that she had to undergo a practice of exorcism. [Read more...]

Centre for Inquiry calls for inquiry after report that church is looking for an exorcist

Center For Inquiry An organization which promotes scientific, critical and skeptical thinking is calling for an inquiry to learn just how prevalent exorcisms are in Canada after a news report last week said a church in Saskatoon, Canada, is actively seeking an exorcist.

Church officials says no exorcism took place, and a bishop stated the church recognizes the importance of psychology and medicine to assist those struggling with mental illness. [Read more...]