Mom loses kids after girl is found in closet
By Stephen W. Huber
(Michigan) The Oakland Press Online, August 27, 2002

An Orion Township mother who claimed her 7-year-old daughter was possessed by demons and allegedly locked her in a closet overnight has lost temporary custody of her three daughters. The mother, 43, also is charged with second-degree child abuse - a 4-year felony - in connection with the July 29 incident in her home.

A preliminary examination is set for Thursday in Rochester Hills district court. A hearing also is set on a neglect petition for the same day in Oakland County Probate Court. The mother's name is not being used to protect the identity of the daughter.

"I have a lot of concerns about what she had subjected her child to," Assistant Prosecutor Cynthia Pike said Monday.

"This is not the first time (the girl) has been confined. The girl said she was locked in a bedroom for two weeks. The girl was actually relieved when deputies arrived. They gave her a bottle of water and an apple while she was in the closet. There were no toilet facilities in the closet."

The girl was required to make most of her own meals, existing of soup prepared in a microwave oven, Pike said.

The mother called sheriff's deputies July 29 and told them she no longer wanted custody of the daughter. The mother said she has had trouble with her youngest daughter for several years, according to court documents.

She contended the girl had threatened to slit the mother's neck and then shove a sex device down her throat.

The mother told deputies to frisk her daughter when they arrived because she had a "psychic connection" to the girl and believed she had a knife tied to her leg and didn't want to see anyone get hurt.

The deputies found the girl in a closet with a chair propped under the door handle. The closet was in a bedroom that had its door tied to another door. No knife was found on the girl.

The mother allegedly contacted the girl's paternal grandfather two days before the incident at 3:15 a.m. and said the girl was "snorting and had red, glowing eyes, and that mother had locked her in a bedroom to be safe," according to court documents.

The girl's 11-year-old sister told a sheriff's detective that she, an older sister and their mother stayed up until 6 a.m. July 29, praying over the girl to rid her of her demons.

The mother allegedly contacted a priest for advice on how to rid the girl of her demons. The mother put vegetable oil on the doors of the house in the shape of a cross but it did not get rid of the demons as hoped, court records said.

The mother allegedly told a Family Independence Agency worker July 30 that the daughter acts "bizarrely" around Bibles and described the demon in her daughter as a 22-year-old midget named Hannah.

"It's a very bizarre situation, and as the facts become uncovered, it becomes more and more startling," said attorney Daniel Bagdade, who is the court-appointed guardian for the three children.

Bagdade said he has spoken to the older sisters of the girl but not the girl herself.

"My conversations with the girls indicate that there is something very strange afoot," Bagdade said.

Attorney Diana Bare, who represents the mother in probate court, said her client felt she and her daughters were at risk of physical and spiritual danger.

"She acted accordingly in a world where good and evil have a palpable effect," Bare said. "Believing her actions to be correct, she relied upon the Sheriff's Department to assist her. They did and now she faces prosecution.

"On any given day, through faith, people pray to their God for intervention. This God cannot be seen, heard or touched. Systems of belief dictate interaction with a world of spirits - some good, some bad. To judge (the mother) for acting as she did may be disingenuous."

Pike disagreed.

"Regardless of your belief system, it's still abuse to lock your kid in a closet," Pike said.

The children, ages 15 and 11, and the girl, have been placed in the care of the Family Independence Agency. The mother is free on bond.

ŠThe Oakland Press 2002

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