A California megachurch leader and her parents have been arrested on charges including murder and torture in the death of an 11-year-old daughter.
Leticia McCormack, a leader at Rock Church in San Diego, founded and led by former NFL player Miles McPherson, was booked in jail Monday on a charge of murder, three counts of torture, and three counts of willful cruelty to a child in the death of Arabella McCormack, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Arabella was initially fostered before being adopted by Brian and Leticia McCormack, officials said.
The 49-year-old church elder’s father, Stanley Tom, 75, was also charged with murder, three counts of torture, and three counts of willful cruelty to a child, according to a news release from the department. Arabella’s grandmother Adella Tom, 70, was booked on three counts of torture and three counts of willful cruelty to a child.
McCormack’s leadership profile has since been removed from the church’s website.
The church released the following statement to USA TODAY Thursday afternoon:
“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. Her ordination at Rock Church was previously suspended and is in the process of being revoked.”
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‘Severe levels of malnourishment’
On Aug. 30, deputies responded to a child-in-distress call at a home in Spring Valley, in the eastern part of the county, where they found Arabella, according to the news release .
The 11-year-old was rushed to a hospital, where her health declined and she died, officials reported, according to the release. Detectives said they suspected child abuse.
The girl was covered in bruises and had suffered “severe levels of malnourishment,” a police spokesperson told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
During the investigation, deputies contacted the girl’s father, Brian McCormack, near the family’s home. According to the release, he died by suicide in their presence.
Arabella had two sisters, ages 6 and 7, the release says, who are now living with a foster family.
The sheriff’s department could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY on Thursday.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California church leader charged with murder in daughter’s death