Mass arrests of religious group members linked to death of girl, 8, after they allegedly held a ‘prayer ritual’ instead of calling an ambulance
- Elizabeth Struhs, 8, died in her Toowoomba home on January 7 from diabetes
- Police allege her parents and up to 20 members of group held ritual
- Father Jason and mother Kerrie charged for allegedly withholding insulin
- Police made 12 arrests overnight on Monday over Elizabeth’s death
- People all belonged to Christian group who call themselves ‘The Saints’
A dozen members of a religious group have been arrested after an eight-year-old Queensland girl was allegedly left to die by her parents.
Elizabeth Struhs died in her Toowoomba home on January 7, with police alleging her parents attempted to treat her type one diabetes with a ritual rather than vital insulin.
It’s alleged rather than giving the little girl her life-saving medication, her parents Jason, 50 and Kerrie, 46 and up to 20 members of their breakaway Christian church surrounded Elizabeth and chanted prayers and hymns.
Officers made a series of arrests overnight on Monday at a home in Harristown, with 12 members of the church now in custody and expected to be charged with murder.
Elizabeth Struhs died in her Toowoomba home on January 7, with police alleging her parents attempted to treat her type one diabetes with a ritual rather than vital insulin
It’s alleged rather than giving the little girl her life-saving medication, her parents Jason, 50 and Kerrie, 46 surrounded Elizabeth and chanted prayers and hymns
It’s alleged Elizabeth’s parents withheld the insulin for several days, instead believing ‘God will heal her’.
The parents were charged with murder, torture and failing to provide the necessities of life for the youngster – with 12 figures of the group now also in custody.
The group includes eight women and four men, with the oldest a 64-year-old female and the youngest a 19-year-old male.
Regional Crime Coordinator Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts said the 14 people made a decision to deny Elizabeth her crucial insulin.
‘It will be alleged that 14 people in total allegedly made the choice to deny this young girl her right to medical care,’ Detective Acting Superintendent Watts said.
‘The arrests are the result of 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.’
Dramatic footage show detectives arriving at a home on Homestead Avenue in the early hours of Tuesday before informing the 12 individuals present they were being arrested over Elizabeth’s alleged murder.
The parents were charged with murder, torture and failing to provide the necessities of life for the youngster – with 12 figures of the group now also in custody
Brendan Stevens (pictured) is believed to be the head of the group who call themselves ‘The Saints’ and believe they are the highest form of Christianity
Police say Elizabeth died in her parent’s rented Rangeville home surrounded by singing and guitar-playing members of the church who describe themselves as ‘The Saints’.
It is alleged the couple held a ‘prayer ritual’ at their home with fellow worshippers, playing music and saying prayers out loud, instead of immediately calling paramedics for their sick daughter.
Police claim that the parents called a group of religious friends from two other families to come over to pray to God for their child.
The neighbour said he had seen a crowd gathered outside the home earlier that day Saturday and that he had heard loud voices and music.
Elizabeth Rose Struhs, 8, was found dead at her home in Toowoomba, Queensland, (pictured) after her parents allegedly stopped giving her vital type 1 diabetes medication
Eldest sister Jay Struhs (pictured) has vowed to take charge of the shattered family
Big sister Jayde Struhs of little Elizabeth Struhs (pictured together) – allegedly tortured and murdered by her anti-vaxxer parents – has made a heartbreaking plea for help
Elizabeth’s devastated sister Jayde claims she was run out of the family because she came out as a lesbian.
Another former member named David, 19, said ‘The Saints’ felt they were the highest form of Christianity.
‘They believed they were the only true Christians because they could speak in tongues,’ he said.