[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Twelve members of a religious group who describe themselves as “The Saints” have been charged with murder after the death of an 8-year-old diabetic girl.
According to police, Elizabeth Rose Struhs, who had Type 1 diabetes, was denied insulin in her family’s Queensland, Australia home — which doubled as a place of worship. The denial came as her parents prayed for her to be cured.
She was found dead on January 11 at the property, but cops believe she died four days earlier. The dozen cult members who denied the young girl medical care, seven women and five men whose ages range from 19 to 64, were arrested and have been charged with murder. Police alleged, via The Sun:
“All of the 12 arrested were aware of the child’s condition, were there at the address and did not take any steps to provide medical assistance to the child.”
The sect of Christians believed the little girl would be “healed by God,” per 9News. Southern Region Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts added:
“It will be alleged the child suffered an underlying medical condition, who was denied treatment for that condition over a period of six days.”
Watts noted that the arrests came after a six-month investigation “in which all officers involved were dedicated to ensuring those alleged to be responsible for her death are brought before the court.”
The girl’s parents, Jason and Kerrie Struhs, were cuffed earlier this year as part of the investigations into Elizabeth’s death. The anti-vax parents were each charged with one count of murder, torture, and failure to provide necessities of life.
Police allege the couple thought their daughter was suffering from “worms” and that God had “100 per cent promised healing.” As the girl became critically ill due to a lack of medication, the parents allegedly held a “prayer ritual” before inviting up to 20 members of the religious group to play guitar, sing, and pray over her for over 24 hours. It wasn’t until 5:30 p.m. the next day when they finally called emergency services.
Police said the cult was made up of three families, including other children. Elizabeth’s older sister, Jayde Struhs, has since vowed to take care of the remaining five siblings under they turn 18. In a GoFundMe page, Jayde explained that she escaped at age 16 “due to the fear driven and controlling beliefs” of her parents’ cult, revealing:
“They take the religion to its extremes, separating us from the real world and extended family who did not believe.”
She said of her sister’s tragic death:
“On Tuesday the 11th of January, our extended family were confronted by the news that has left us completely shattered and heartbroken. We sadly discovered the death of Elizabeth in the cruellest of ways. With so many unanswered questions, we have faced the brutal reality that the people who should have protected her did not, and we may never know the full extent of what took place.”
The accused are appearing in front of Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Wednesday June 6.
[Image via GoFundMe]