Mom held in bru­tal ‘ex­or­cism’ of girl, 11

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Veron­ica Rocha veron­ica.rocha@la­times.com

A North­ern Cal­i­for­nia mother who claimed she was try­ing to ex­or­cise demons from her daugh­ter has been booked on sus­pi­cion of bit­ing, chok­ing and shov­ing hand­fuls of sand into the girl’s mouth and eyes on a crowded beach, au­thor­i­ties said.

Kim­berly Felder, 45, of Ferndale was ar­rested Fri­day morn­ing on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted homi­cide, as­sault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse and ag­gra­vated may­hem, Hum­boldt County Sher­iff Wil­liam Hon­sal said in a state­ment.

The or­deal un­folded about 9 a.m. when au­thor­i­ties re­ceived a re­port of a mother at­tack­ing a small girl at Cen­ter­ville Beach County Park near Ferndale, about 20 miles south of Eu­reka, Calif.

A wit­ness told au­thor­i­ties the mother was try­ing to per­form an ex­or­cism. She had stripped the 11-year-old girl naked and at­tacked her with sand, Hon­sal said.

“The mother stated she was try­ing to re­move the demons from the child,” the sher­iff said.

As Felder vi­ciously hit, bit and choked the girl, Hon­sal said, a crowd of 10 to 12 peo­ple ar­rived and saw the in­ci­dent. Dur­ing the at­tack, Felder se­verely bit her daugh­ter’s right ear, au­thor­i­ties said.

Res­i­dent John Mar­ciel stepped in and re­strained Felder, Lt. Ken Swith­en­bank said.

As Mar­ciel fought with Felder on the ground, she struck her daugh­ter on the head with a piece of drift­wood, au­thor­i­ties said.

A sher­iff’s deputy later ar­rived and ar­rested Felder.

As deputies took Felder into cus­tody, Mar­ciel tended to the girl, Swith­en­bank said.

The girl was hos­pi­tal­ized for mul­ti­ple in­juries. She will prob­a­bly re­quire re­con­struc­tive surgery to her ear, he said.

It is un­clear what led to the in­ci­dent, Swith­en­bank said.

The in­ci­dent, he said, was “very dis­turb­ing” for deputies.

Au­thor­i­ties said if it were not for Mar­ciel’s hero­ism and swift ac­tions, the girl would have been killed.

“He was shook up pretty good,” Swith­en­bank said. “It’s very heroic what he did.”

For his hero­ism, the lieu­tenant said, sher­iff ’s of­fi­cials have re­quested that Mar­ciel be rec­og­nized with the Red Cross Life­saver Award.

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