Twelve members of a religious group were arrested this Tuesday (5/7) for the death of an eight-year-old girl in Australia.
Elizabeth Struhs was a diabetic and died on January 7th of this year in a house south of Brisbane. Authorities believe the girl was denied insulin for nearly a week.
Earlier this year, her parents were accused of murder, torture and failing to provide for the necessities of life.
Police said they would indict another 12 people — aged between 19 and 64 — for the girl’s death.
The group was aware of Elizabeth’s deteriorating condition but did not seek medical help, Queensland State Police said in a statement.
His parents — Jason and Kerrie Struhs — are members of a small, isolated religious group in the town of Toowoomba that is not associated with any traditional church, according to local media.
Police allege that the couple and others in the group prayed for Elizabeth’s recovery when she became seriously ill.
Authorities were not contacted until the day after the child’s death.
Police Superintendent Garry Watts said authorities were surprised by what they discovered.
“In my 40 years of policing, I have never come across anything like this,” he said. “And I’m not aware of a similar event in Queensland or Australia.”
Elizabeth’s older sister Jayde Struhs blames her parents and the religious group for the girl’s death.
At a fundraiser organized to support Elizabeth’s siblings, Jayde said her family was “completely devastated and heartbroken.”
“We face a brutal reality: the people who should have protected her didn’t, and we may never know exactly what happened,” she wrote.
She said her parents — with whom she quarreled — were part of a cult that takes religion to extremes and uses fear to control its members.
The 12 people arrested are due to appear in court on Wednesday (7/6). Jason and Kerrie Struhs will return to court in late July.
– Text originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional-62053316
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