WARSAW, Missouri (KY3) – The parents of a 4-year-old girl from Stover, Missouri, face charges after investigators say their daughter was dipped in an icy lake and beaten to death to remove a “demon”.
MPs arrested Mary S. Mast, 29, and James A. Mast, 28 on Christmas Eve. Mary Mast faces charges of jeopardizing a child’s well-being, resulting in death and domestic violence. James Mast faces charges of endangering a child’s well-being, resulting in death, endangering a child’s well-being, resulting in serious injury. A judge did not establish a bond for the couple. Deputies placed a second child in protective custody at home.
Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, face second-degree murder and other crimes. Both remain in prison. Despite having the same surnames, Mary and James Mast are not related to Ethan Mast.
The deputies responded at 1 am on Sunday, December 30, to a rural house near the town of Cole Camp and found the 4-year-old boy wrapped in a blanket on the floor of a bedroom. Investigators said the girl was already dead and had “severe bruises” on her body, in addition to burst blisters. Sheriff Knox said the girl’s parents were also beaten together with a 2-year-old child. A young son of the couple apparently left unscathed.
Ethan Mast told investigators on Saturday that he and Aumen used a leather belt to beat the girl, the statement said. She was then taken to a lake behind the house, where she was “immersed” in the water on a day when the high temperatures were in their 40s. Ethan Mast said that everyone then returned to the victims’ home. It was not clear when the child died. An autopsy will determine the cause of death. Knox said the evidence indicates that she was beaten to death.
Sheriff Eric Knox released a statement on the case on Facebook.
“I received many letters, calls and emails of concern regarding the death of this child and the surrounding circumstances as being actions of a sect. During interviews with investigators and the media, there were some references to God and demons. Additional interviews were conducted with family members, both local and outside the state, as well as others who know the parties involved. None of the actions contained in this case are tolerated by the church they attended. The research done so far indicates that this is an isolated incident and NOT the actions of a sect.
When a crime of this magnitude occurs, it affects everyone in its consequences, from the first respondents to close relatives, the community, the church and beyond. This will continue to be an ongoing investigation, pending the coroner’s report and any additional information we may develop in time. Other charges can be pursued by Benton County District Attorney Rod Richardson when all the evidence is considered. “
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