Twelve people have been detained and are in the process of being charged with the murder of an eight-year-old child, who was found dead on a Queensland property after she was reportedly denied access to medical assistance. Toowoomba police say a fringe religious group knew about Elizabeth Rose Struhs’ diabetes and withheld insulin from her for six days.
Before phoning 911, a group of Christians who lived in the Rangeville home apparently sang, and chanted over the body of the young girl for 24 hours in the hopes that she would be “healed by God” before she died. Elizabeth’s parents were also part of the church group, which investigators understand comprises three households.
“It will be alleged the youngster experienced an underlying medical issue, who was denied treatment for that illness over a period of six days,” Southern Region Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts said. Elizabeth died on January 7, according to Watts, but emergency services weren’t alerted until 5.30 pm the next day.
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A search warrant was conducted at the residence in Homestead Avenue early on Tuesday morning, where 30 cops detained the 12 persons, ranging in ages from 19 to 64.
The seven women and five men were located in the living room of the residence, utilized as a place of prayer. Earlier that morning, Pastor Brendan Stevens, who was with the group, had just showered. “All of the 12 accused were aware of the child’s health, were there at the address, and did not take any steps to seek medical assistance to the child,” police alleged.
They are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to face murder accusations of them. An investigation into Elizabeth’s death had already led to the arrest of the child’s mother and father, both of whom were 47 and 50 years of age, respectively. They were accused on January 11 of murder, torture, and failing to comply with the needs of life.
During the six-month inquiry, the Toowoomba child protection investigating unit, the child trauma unit, and homicide investigators were all involved, Watts said. “It’s not the kind of situation we as detectives are presented with regularly,” he remarked. “In my nearly 40 years of policing, I haven’t been dealt with an issue like this.”
“It’s a pretty complex study and I’m not aware of a similar event in Queensland let alone Australia. It’s a sad set of circumstances.” Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily