Baby Sitter Arrested, Accused Of Witchcraft, Satanism

Woman Admits To Studying Satanism, Giving Girls Alcohol

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines police filed a criminal charge in a bizarre case which they say involves a baby sitter, two 8-year-old girls, witchcraft and alcohol.

Melissa Fernandez, 20, of Des Moines, is accused of giving 8-year-old twins alcohol, and providing a sharp instrument for one of the girls to cut herself in a ritual to become blood sisters. Fernandez is charged with one count of child endangerment.

Tina Kish said she was shocked by what her daughters told her about the times they stayed with Fernandez, a family friend and baby sitter who also lives in the Park Ridge Apartment complex on Indianola Avenue.

Kish said the girls told her that Fernandez served them alcohol, and got one of them drunk. The girls also said Fernandez taught them things about witchcraft, took them to an abandoned building Fernandez told them is haunted, and allowed one girl to cut herself as part of a blood ritual.

According to police reports, Fernandez encouraged one of the girls to cut her arm and commingle blood with her.

From her jail cell, Fernandez did not deny the alcohol accusation.

“I had been drinking a little bit that night. And they pretty much wanted to try it, like kids always do,” Fernandez said.

“I can completely understand the charges for distributing alcohol to a minor, and I will fess up to that, but anything else I completely do not understand,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said she simply showed the girls the movie “Practical Magic,” which is about witches, and the twin’s satanism claims are a misunderstanding.

“I just wanted the girls to have fun, you know, because they had watched that movie and pretty much they wanted to mimic some of the stuff of that,” Fernandez said.

“I had cut myself. I do that kind of out of habit now. And she just kind of copied me,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez admitted she studies satanism as a religion, but denies she practices witchcraft.

Fernandez appeared before a Polk County judge Friday morning. Her bond is set at $6,500.

The judge issued a no contact order, meaning Fernandez must stay away from minors.

Fernandez is out of jail.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, USA
Nov. 14, 2003

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday November 15, 2003.
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