Parents ‘forced to sexually abuse daughter, 4, with object’
THE parents of a four-year-old girl who was brutally beaten then submerged in a freezing pond and left to die by a neighbor have been arrested in connection with her death.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office reports that Jessica Mast's parents, identified as James Mast and Mary Mast, were arrested on Christmas Eve in Missouri.
They are facing charges after authorities say the pair didn’t do enough to stop their neighbors from allegedly beating, abusing and killing the child.
The arrests come days after two other adults were arrested for Jessica’s horrific death.
Jessica's mother Mary Mast, 28, is charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death and first-degree domestic assault. The girl’s father, 28-year-old James Mast, is charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in serious physical injury.
According to court documents, James Mast told investigators that the neighbors, who lived across the road, went to the same church as his family.
The couple arrived at Ethan Mast’s home and declared that Mary Mast had a demon in her, Fox 4 reports.
Despite sharing the same last name, Ethan Mast is not related to the victim's family, according to police.
Over the course of several weeks, the neighbors allegedly beat the Mast children and forced the parents to comply, warning them that they would get hurt if they interfered.
On December 20, the suspects arrived back at the home at 8 am and began beating the 2-year-old, while forcing the parents to watch, Crime Online reports. They left the victims’ home at some point that day, then returned later and began beating Jessica with a belt. She cried for help, but no one attempted to stop the beating, police said.
According to a probable cause statement from Sgt. Chris Wilson, both suspects are also accused of sexual abuse and forcing the little girl’s parents to use a foreign object to perform sexual acts on her.
The suspects eventually beat Mary Mast.
Deputies with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office responded to an early morning 911 call reporting that the four-year-old girl was dead, officials said.
Authorities found her inside a bedroom with her two sons, the two-year-old and an infant. She had “severe bruising” all over her back, ABC 13 reports. The two-year-old had severe bruising and blisters. They were both sent to an area hospital for treatment
The infant boy appeared unharmed, and James Mast, who said he was beaten with a wooden spoon for showing compassion to his family, didn’t require hospitalization.
James Mast told investigators that his daughter “had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank” before being taken back into the home.
According to authorities, James Mast claimed the suspects told him “Satan would come” if he showed compassion.
Sgt. Wilson asked James Mast, “how he could let people do this to his family and he stated 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,” per the probable cause statement.
“Based on what I know, I think this could be some kind of honest-to-goodness religious-type episode,” Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox told KTLA 5.
The infant boy and the girl’s mother, Mary Mast, had also been severely beaten and were taken to a local hospital where they are recovering, cops said.
Deputies have arrested Ethan Mast, 35, at a neighboring home with 21-year-old Kourtney Aumen.
Aumen and Ethan Mast are facing multiple felony charges, cops said.
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