A mom from California has been arrested after her 3-year-old daughter was allegedly tortured and killed during an exorcism that she ordered. Claudia Elisa Hernandez, 25, told police she was concerned about her daughter, Arely Hernandez, because the child would frequently wake up crying in the middle of the night.
In September 2021, the mother, who goes by Elisa, sought help from family members, one of whom was a leader at the San Jose church where the toddler died. Elisa says she thought the child was “possessed.” Months after her daughter’s death, Elisa posted a nearly 45-minute-long video, smiling and laughing, showing little remorse for what happened. The next month, she was charged with felony assault.
Elisa’s grandfather and uncle reportedly helped her perform an “exorcism” on the child.
On September 23, 2021, Elisa’s grandfather who was a church leader where Arely died, and her uncle, helped her bring the toddler to a church in San Jose where they proceeded to participate in an exorcism ritual that went on for what police say was about 12 hours.
Court documents indicate that the three adults held the child down by her head, neck, and legs for hours, and even stuck their fingers down her throat in attempts to make her vomit.
Arely died from suffocation.
“She [Elisa] strangled her multiple times to the point where the victim went unconscious, she stuck her hands down her throat, and continued this course of conduct for almost a full day,” the prosecutor wrote, reported KRON 4.
Court documents indicate Arely had, “multiple injuries around her eyes, face, neck, and chest.”
The family did not call authorities immediately.
Elisa evidently told authorities that she believed her daughter died between 6 and 6:30 p.m., but she did not call 911 until about two hours later. Elisa told police that no one provided medical assistance.
The coroner later determined that Arely’s death was a homicide, and said the child died from suffocation and smothering.
Elisa posted the most bizarre YouTube video a few months after Arely’s death.
In January, a few months after Arely died, Elisa posted a strange video on YouTube that ran for more than 40 minutes. In it, she’s sitting in her car smiling and laughing and says she wants to talk about her daughter.
“Everyone wants to know what happened to her, you know, her cause of death. A lot of people turned on me after my daughter passed away; a lot of people thought a lot of things because of how that situation looked. If you weren’t there, you don’t know what happened. I know what happened,” Elisa says in the video.
But she did not explain her daughter’s death.
“When she passed away she was with me. Of course, I’m her mom, why would she not be with me?” Elisa, who is originally from El Salvador, said. “I could sit here and be negative. But there’s no point in me doing that. I cannot change what is. It is what it is,” she proclaimed oddly, considering she lost her toddler just months earlier.