Pastor starves toddler to death

By Drum Digital
19 April 2015

An American pastor has been charged in connection with the death of a two-year-old who was allegedly starved as part of a religious ritual to rid him of “demons”.

Araceli Meza (49) – pastor of a non-denominational Christian church in Balch Springs in Dallas, Texas – has been charged with causing serious injury to a child. Police said the child died in the home that housed Araceli's small church and where four families lived.

According to witnesses, the boy was only given water for 25 days. Witnesses also told police how 49-year-old Araceli and her husband took the boy's body to Mexico with his parents, who have not yet returned to America.

"They didn't give the child any food for about 25 days," Balch Springs Lieutenant Mark Maret told NBC Dallas. "They just gave him some water, which ultimately caused the child to die."

The infant’s Mexican parents took the boy to Araceli because they believed he had a “demon”.

Araceli operates an illegal church, Iglesia Internacional Jesus Es El Rey, in the Dallas suburb, authorities said.

“She is considered a prophet who would advise other members of the church what God has spoken to her," church member Nazareth Zurita told NBC Dallas.

Another witness claims to have tried to feed the infant but "was scolded by the pastors of the church".

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