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A Missouri couple has been accused of fatally torturing their own neighbors, a mother and her two kids, and the killing of a little girl.
Early Sunday, James Mast, 28, of Cole Camp, Missouri called 911 to report that his 4-year-old daughter was dead, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. He said the child “had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank before being taken back into the residence.”
When investigators arrived on the scene, they found the girl dead in her bedroom, according to local outlet KY3.
“She was beaten from head to toe,” Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox told the outlet.
The girl’s mother Mary Mast, 28, and her two-year-old son “were also beaten to a severe extent,” according to the release. The mother and the surviving child were transported to a hospital, “where they are recovering,” the sheriff’s department stated Sunday.
An investigation into the incident led to the arrest of the family’s neighbors Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21. It’s unclear if there is any relation between the child's father and Ethan. Both suspects have been booked on felony charges of second-degree murder, assault, and sexual abuse charges, according to online jail records. They are both being held without bail. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.
Knox told KY3 that “it's an ongoing investigation and there may be more charges pending for more people by the time we finish our investigation.” He noted though, that the father is not a suspect.
He said he believes the abuse may have been going on for weeks.
”To see a child in any kind of distress is terrible for first responders. In something to this magnitude, with a severe beating the child went through and the trauma she went through, it is very traumatic for everyone involved,” he told the outlet.
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