The Missouri parents who watched as their 4-year-old daughter was beaten to death by neighbors to remove a “demon” are forbidden from attending her funeral, a judge ruled.
Mary Mast, 29, and James Mast, 28, of Lincoln, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of felony child endangerment resulting in death after the girl was found dead Dec. 20.
During the arraignment, Associate Judge Mark Brandon Pilley also denied their request to attend their daughter’s funeral services.
Over the course of two weeks, the couple’s neighbor’s Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, repeatedly assaulted the girl to rid her of a “demon,” authorities said.
James Mast told authorities that he and his wife observed the neighbors beat her but were told they would be assaulted or shot if they tried to intervene.
He also claimed “they were told (his wife) had a ‘Demon’ inside her and her children would end up just like her if it was not taken care of,” authorities wrote in probable cause documents.
Ethan Mast — who is not believed to be related to James Mast — told investigators that he and Aumen used a leather belt to beat the girl, then “dunked” her in a frigid pond on a day when high temperatures were in the 40s.
The next day, Benton County Sgt. Chris Wilson was called to the home and found the girl already dead with “severe purple bruising” over her body.
Knox said the beating appeared to be part of a “religious-type episode,” though the probe so far suggests it was an “isolated incident and NOT the actions of a cult.”
Ethan Mast and Aumen were jailed without bond on charges that included second-degree murder.
With Post wires
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