Girl dies after exorcism

2010-04-02 22:31
Georgetown - A 14-year-old girl has died after neighbours and a local pastor tried to treat her convulsions with an exorcism at a church, and Guyanese police said on Friday they are investigating.

Sangeeta Persaud began to have convulsions as she was drinking tea for breakfast at her grandmother's home in Canal Number Two, a farming village west of the capital, the grandmother told the Stabroek News and Guyana Chronicle.

The woman said neighbours arrived to help, and a local pastor convinced them she was suffering from demonic possession.

After trying to cast out the demons at her home, the grandmother and other witnesses told the newspapers, neighbours carried her to a church, where the pastor and aides rubbed or pounded on her stomach and had her drink lime juice.

She was finally taken to a hospital, where she died, Police Commander Colin West said. Results from a preliminary autopsy were inconclusive and no one has been charged, but West said police were continuing to investigate.

It was not clear why the girl was not taken to a doctor earlier.

The pastor presided over the girl's funeral on Thursday as the child's mother, father and other relatives shouted accusations at one another and at the preacher, the Stabroek News reported.

It said the pastor disputed news accounts of what had occurred, but did not say which parts he felt were inaccurate.

The newspaper said the girl had been living with her grandmother in a one-bedroom house and her parents were separated.

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