A judge in the central Bolivian province of Cochabamba ordered two members of an evangelical group held after a young woman drowned during an attempted exorcism, police said Tuesday.
The victim’s sister and a pastor admitted to authorities that the woman died Sunday during a rite that involved immersion in a barrel filled with water, the provincial police spokesman, Maj. Juan Carlos Corrales, told Efe.
Adelaida Marca Rios, 26, told police she thought her 18-year-old sister was possessed by a demon, saying the girl’s face had become “ugly, satanic.”
Acknowledging that she had prevented her sister from surfacing, Adelaida said she was not to blame, as Satan had taken control of her and guided her hand.
Pastor Carlos Uriona, who said he had trusted in the “purifying actions” of Adelaida, told authorities Marca Rios held her sister under water for as long as five minutes.
Opinion newspaper cited the father of the two sisters, Andres Marca, as saying that he didn’t know what to make of the horrific event.
“My family cannot judge what happened, only God knows what he does,” the father of 10 said. “All this hurts me, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just trust in God.”