Authorities in Southern California have announced the arrest of a woman and her parents on suspicion of child abuse in connection with the death of an 11-year-old girl earlier this year. The lady was well-known in the San Diego megachurch community.
On Tuesday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Leticia McCormack, 49, and her parents, Stanley Tom, 75, and Adella Tom, 70, for their roles in the death of Arabella McCormack, 11.
The sheriff’s office reported that both Leticia McCormack and Stanley Tom were arrested and jailed on one count of murder and three charges of torture and malicious cruelty to a child. Three charges of torture and three counts of wilful cruelty to a child were filed against Adella Tom.
At their first court appearance on Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that all three defendants entered not guilty pleas.
According to the sheriff’s office, Arabella had two younger sisters, aged six and seven, who have now been adopted into a new home.
According to Arabella’s birth mother, McCormack and her husband took in Arabella and her two younger sisters as foster children in 2017 before adopting them.
Arabella and her two sisters were allegedly mistreated and tormented by McCormack and her parents for five and a half years, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the U-T.
An incident involving a kid in distress occurred in the early hours of August 30 at a residence in the Spring Valley region of San Diego County, according to the sheriff’s department. Arabella, the baby, had to be transported to the emergency room of a nearby hospital, but she did not survive.
According to the sheriff’s office, investigators found evidence of alleged child abuse and visited Arabella’s adoptive father, Brian McCormack, but McCormack committed himself while in the company of officers. According to the U-T, Brian McCormack worked as a Border Patrol agent.
Meanwhile, Leticia McCormack was a well-known attendee at one of the locations of Rock Church San Diego, which has many locations in the San Diego area. The church claimed in a statement to CBS News on Thursday that McCormack was never a pastor there, but that he was “ordained as an elder at another church within the Assemblies of God denomination.”
The church claims that ordained elders serve as volunteers and take on a variety of roles, but their authority is “restricted.” Her ordination was “previously halted and the decision was taken to withdraw it,” according to the church.
It was also stated by the church that “no formal connection with Leticia” existed.
The church announced in a statement that it had “got word” that Leticia and her parents had been jailed as a consequence of the sheriff’s department inquiry. “We have not stopped crying over what happened to Arabella and her sisters. We can’t even begin to fathom the depths of sorrow and grief that their loved ones must be feeling right now.”