Police believe that Araceli Meza also held a resurrection ceremony shortly after the boy’s death.

Witnesses told police that Meza and the boy’s parents, who ran a church from their suburban home, believed he had a “demon” inside him and that he needed to fast to get rid of it.

“They didn’t give the child any food for about 25 days,” police spokesman Mark Maret said. “They just gave him some water, which ultimately caused the child to die”.


Churchgoer Nazareth Zurita said the child looked “frail and weak” the day before the Texas ceremony.

The toddler had reportedly fallen and hit his head but she apparently refused to help him “due to his demon possession”.

Zurita said Meza “was considered a prophet” who “would advise to the other members of the church what God has spoken to her”.

She also said Meza’s husband was the leader of Iglesia Internacional Jesus es el Rey and Meza was its second-ranking officer.

Another congregation member told police she tried to feed the child several times during the 25-day fast “but was scolded by the pastors of the church”.

Delia Guadalupe Oyervides Herrera asked the child’s mother why she would allow her child to be starved and was “advised that it was God’s will”.

Investigators believe the boy died on March 21 or early the next day, and that the resurrection ceremony occurred on March 22 at Meza’s home.

The 49-year-old was charged on Monday with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission.

Maret added that more arrests are likely.

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