An ordained elder at a California megachurch was arrested on suspicion of torture and murder of her 11-year-old adopted daughter. The woman’s parents were also charged in connection with the torture and death of the young girl.
In the early hours of Aug. 30, deputies responded to a call of a child in distress at a residence in the Spring Valley area of San Diego County. Authorities rushed 11-year-old Arabella McCormack to a local hospital — where she was later pronounced deceased.
Following the girl’s death, deputies met Arabella’s adopted father, Brian McCormack — a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent. McCormack reportedly committed suicide in front of the deputies.
During the investigation, detectives suspected signs of possible child abuse, the sheriff’s department said. The girl was covered in bruises and had suffered “severe levels of malnourishment,” a police spokesperson said.
A medical examiner has not ruled on how she died.
On Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department arrested Arabella McCormack’s mother and grandparents.
Leticia McCormack, 49, was charged with murder, three counts of torture, and three counts of willful cruelty, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. McCormack’s father, Stanley Tom, 75, was charged with murder, three counts of torture, and three counts of willful cruelty to a child. The slain girl’s grandmother, Adella Tom, 70, was charged with three counts of torture and three counts of willful cruelty to a child.
Arabella was initially fostered by Brian and Leticia McCormack starting in 2017 before being adopted by the couple.
Arabella had two sisters, ages 6 and 7, who have been placed with a foster family following her death.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Prosecutors say Leticia McCormack, 49, and her parents, Adella and Stanley Tom, abused and tortured McCormack’s three daughters for about five and a half years, leading up to the death of one of the girls, Aarabella, in late August, according to a complaint.”
McCormack was an ordained elder at the Rock Church in San Diego.
A spokesperson for the Rock Church said it was taking steps to revoke McCormack’s ordination.
The Rock Church told USA Today:
We continue to grieve for Arabella and her sisters. We are so sorry that their family and friends are experiencing this unimaginable loss and pain. We send our deepest condolences to all that are grieving at this time. Our hearts go out to each of them. The legal process will run its course and we hope justice for Arabella and her sisters will be served. We are praying that God’s love and grace will bring comfort and healing. The Rock no longer has any official relationship with Leticia.
McCormack’s profile had been removed from the megachurch’s website by Thursday.
Megachurch Leader Arrested Alongside Her Parents for Allegedly Murdering Their Daughter | PEOPLE