The Benton County Sheriff’s office says Morgan County Deputies arrested James and Mary Mast in the death of their four-year-old child near Cole Camp.
It follows the arrest of the neighbors Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen earlier this week for similar reasons.
All four individuals are being held without bond facing numerous felony charges.
It is believed that the couple, and the neighbors, had allowed the beating, assaults and other crimes against the family and the children for more than 2 weeks prior to the murder because the Mother, Mary Mast, and the four year-old-child were “possessed by a demon.”
The four-year-old girl was found dead in the home last Sunday, severely beaten. Investigators say they learned she had been submerged in a pond, then left to freeze. Mary Mast and her 2-year-old son were also severely beaten and had been taken to Bothwell Regional for treatment.
An infant in the home was not harmed.
Both the infant and the 2-year-old boy are now being held in protective custody.
Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox posted this information late Christmas Eve to the Sheriff’s Facebook page.
This evening, Thursday, December 24th, at approximately 7:18 PM deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mary S. Mast, 29 and James A. Mast, 28 at a residence in Stover MO, on warrants issued out of Benton County.
James and Mary were the parents of the four-year-old female victim from the homicide reported in the early morning hours of December 20th.
Mary is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Domestic Assault in the First Degree (Felony A). James is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Serious Physical Injury (Felony B) Both individuals are being held without bond, the Mast’s two-year-old son and infant son have been placed in protective custody.
The probable cause statements will be available next week at the Benton County Circuit Clerks office or can be requested by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have received many letters, calls and emails of concern regarding this child’s death and the surrounding circumstances to be the actions of a cult. During interviews with investigators and the media, there have been some references to God and demons.
Additional interviews have been held with family members, both local and out of state, as well as others who know the parties involved. None of the actions contained in this case are condoned by the church they attended. The investigation done so far indicates that this is an isolated incident and NOT the actions of a cult.
When a crime of this magnitude occurs, it affects everyone in its aftermath from first responders to next of kin, community, church and beyond. This will continue to be an ongoing investigation as we wait for the medical examiner’s report and any further information we may be able to develop in time.
Further charges may be sought by Benton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rod Richardson as all the evidence is considered.
KRMS will bring you further updates about this case as they become available.