California megachurch leader charged with murder of 11-year-old

A Southern California woman and her parents have been arrested on child abuse charges in connection with the death of an 11-year-old girl earlier this year. The woman was a high-profile member of the San Diego megachurch.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that 49-year-old Leticia McCormack and her parents β€” Stanley Tom, 75, and Adela Tom, 70 β€” were arrested in connection with the August death of 11-year-old Arabella McCormack. ,

The sheriff’s department said both Leticia McCormack and Stanley Tom were charged with one count of murder, and three each of torture and intentional cruelty to a child. Adela Tom was booked on three counts of torture and willful cruelty to a child.

In their first court hearing on Wednesday, the trio pleaded not guilty, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Arabella had two sisters, aged six and seven, who have since been placed in a foster family, the sheriff’s department said.

Arabella’s biological mother told UT that McCormack and her husband became foster parents to Arabella and her two younger sisters in 2017 and later adopted all three of them.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors allege that McCormack and her parents abused and tortured Arabella and her two sisters for five and a half years, UT reports.

A San Diego woman and her parents have been arrested in the torture and murder of 11-year-old Arabella McCormack.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

The sheriff’s department said the situation came to light on the morning of August 30, when a call was answered by a child in distress at a home in the Spring Valley area of ​​San Diego County. The baby girl Arabella was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.

During an investigation, detectives suspected signs of possible child abuse, the Sheriff’s Department reported, and when deputy contacted Arabella’s adoptive father, Brian McCormack, he committed suicide in his presence. Brian McCormack was a Border Patrol agent, UT reports.

Leticia McCormack, meanwhile, was a high-profile member of Rock Church San Diego, which has several campuses in San Diego County. In a statement Thursday to CBS News, the church said McCormack was never pastor at Rock Church, but was “ordained as an elder at another church under the Congregations of God Denomination.”

According to the church, ordained elders work on a volunteer basis with many functions, but still have a “limited scope”. The church said her ordination “was previously suspended and a decision was made to cancel it.”

The church stated that “she no longer has an official relationship with Leticia.”

“We have received notice that Leticia and her parents have been arrested as a result of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department,” the church said in its statement. “We continue to grieve for Arabella and her sisters. We are deeply sorry that her family and friends are going through this unimaginable loss and pain.”

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