An uncle and grandfather join a mother behind bars after a 3-year-old girl is killed during a horrifying 12-hour exorcism.
Claudia Hernandez, 25, of San Jose, California, was first charged in January in the death of her daughter Arely Hernandez, who she believed possessed a demon, court documents show. After the horrific death, Hernandez posted a lengthy video on YouTube in which she casually claimed her daughter’s death was “what it is.”
On Friday, investigators also charged Rene Aaron Hernandez-Santos, 19, and Rene Trigueros Hernandez, 59, for their role in the deadly ritual New York Post reports.
According to an affidavit, the mother believed her three-year-old daughter contained an “evil spirit” because she often heard the child cry at night. On the morning of September 24, 2021, she and Arely’s uncle drove to the Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas church, where Hernandez’s father was a pastor. Hernandez later told police that she and her brother began performing maneuvers, such as holding their daughter’s neck and waist to help her “throw up” and “get the ghost out.”
Hernandez’s father later came to church, and the three adults continued to physically force the girl to vomit. According to an affidavit, Hernandez admitted that during the demonic procedure, she decided to “stick her finger down the victim’s throat and squeeze the victim’s throat to induce vomiting.” She also said Arely “fell asleep multiple times” as she pressed on her neck.
Around 8 p.m., Hernandez called the police to tell them her daughter was dead. The affidavit claims first responders noticed Arely had bruises around his eyes, neck and chest, and Hernandez admitted the family waited at least an hour to call 911 when they realized the child had been rendered lifeless.
According to arrest records, Hernandez was arrested on Jan. 31, just days after she posted her nonchalant video of the incident, and charged with a felony in which a child was violently assaulted, which would likely result in serious bodily harm and death.
Although Hernandez’s father, Reno, was not initially charged in the girl’s death, he told the San Jose Merkur News then: “If you read the Bible, you will see that Jesus casts out demons and heals the sick… Not when I want it, but when God wants to heal people in his will. The preacher is like an instrument of God; What we do is what God says.”
Both Arely’s uncle and grandfather have now been charged with criminal ill-treatment for participating in the ritual torture. Hernandez remains in prison and is scheduled to appear in court June 13.