911 tapes show alarmed family in exorcism case

Ronald Marquez and his 19-year-old daughter believed they were communicating with God and deceased relatives before they performed what family members described as an exorcism on Marquez’s young granddaughter, according to 911 tapes obtained Monday. Family members called police three times in a one-hour span on July 28.

Officers arrived at the home near 24th Street and McDowell Road in Phoenix, and said they found Marquez holding his 3-year-old granddaughter in a headlock. As Marquez choked his bloodied granddaughter, the girl’s mother, naked and bloody, looked on, chanted and held a religious picture, police said.

Officers stunned Marquez, 48, with a Taser and he later died at a nearby hospital.

In the first 911 call to police, at 6:22 a.m., the family told of unusual happenings in the household.

“She thinks she is some kind of an angel, that God sent her,” Marquez’s sister said of the toddler’s mother in the first 911 call.

In another 911 call, Marquez’s brother told a dispatcher that Marquez’s daughter had seen God and her great-grandmother, dead 14 years, “in the backyard sitting right next to her.”

Marquez and his daughter had told family members that deceased relatives were urging them to rid the house of devils, Marquez’s brother said.

“They’re putting circles around (my mother’s) doors, throwing all her shampoos away, all the stuff on the walls they’re throwing away, saying it’s the devil’s stuff,” Marquez’s brother told a dispatcher.

Marquez’s brother said his niece injured her head in a car accident a week before, but refused to take prescribed medication.

“Now that his daughter has gone into another world, he’s (Marquez) like, following her,” the brother said. “He’s following her, whatever she does. She walks around at night with a robe, blessing houses and stuff like that.”

When Marquez’s brother tried to approach the room where the exorcism was taking place, he said Marquez shouted at him in an “evil voice,” a “voice I never heard before to ‘get out of here, get out of here, get out of here!’ ”

He said he heard his brother yelling: “Cry, cry.”

During about 20 minutes of recorded 911 conversations, Marquez’s sister made the only clear mention that it was Marquez’s granddaughter involved in the exorcism. “She’s in there screaming and crying like she’s scared, like she don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

In the final call to 911, the brother said Marquez was getting worse.

“She needs help. Both of them do,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on in there but I hope he’s OK.”

The child received medical treatment and was placed in protective custody.

Police have not released the identity of the 19-year-old mother, who is hospitalized. It is not known whether police will charge her with a crime.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 14, 2007.
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