A Bay Area family will go on trial for the ‘exorcism’ death of a 3-year-old girl


Authorities announced that three family members accused of killing a 3-year-old girl in 2021 during a “exorcism” rite at a San Jose church will now go on trial in the matter.

According to court documents, Santa Clara County Judge Hanley Chew decided on May 13 that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with a trial against the deceased girl’s mother, Claudia Hernandez-Santos, 26, her uncle, Rene “Aaron” Hernandez-Santos, 20, and her grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, 60.

According to court documents, the three entered a not guilty plea on Monday to a single felony count of child abuse that resulted in toddler Arely Naomi Proctor’s death. All three of them are being held without bail, and their next trial setting hearing is planned on August 14. They could all spend 25 years to life in jail if found guilty.

Authorities reported that Proctor passed away on September 24, 2021, within Trigueros Hernandez’s Pentecostal church, Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas. Prosecutors claim that while the family members were attempting to carry out a ceremony to drive out a “demon,” they choked and squeezed the little child and attempted to induce vomiting.

According to a coroner’s report, Arely had injuries to her neck and mouth, blood in her lungs, brain enlargement, and suffocation at the time of her death.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Rebekah Wise stated in a prior filing that “Arely Doe fought for her life during this assault as three trusted adults forcibly grabbed her by her neck, torso, back, and legs, smothered her by repeatedly attempting to pry open her mouth to make her vomit, and held her with so much force that she had internal bleeding and injuries.”

The evidence demonstrates that Arely battled to get away from her attackers over the course of this assault. The adults were attempting to pry her mouth open, but she closed it.

Police detectives testified about their discussions with the family members following the girl’s death during an earlier preliminary hearing.

Police were informed by Claudia Hernandez-Santos that she thought her daughter was “possessed.”

Seldom appeared distinct. There was something odd about her gaze. She said that it “wasn’t her” and that they appeared empty, according to court documents.

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