Mar 26, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

"Pastor" Starves Toddler To Death In Failed Exorcism/Resurrection Ceremony

Three years after a failed exorcism/resurrection ceremony claimed the life of two-year-old Benjamin Aparicio, a Dallas County jury found so-called "pastor" Aracely Meza guilty on Friday of felony injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison and ordered to pay $10,000 in fines, the Washington Post reports.

Meza claimed to be a prophetess with a gift of performing healing miracles. She and her husband, Daniel, ran a church called Iglesia Internacional Jesus es el Ray out of their home in Balch Springs, a suburb southeast of Dallas, Texas. Several adults and children were living in the Meza's home, which served as a sort of commune, around the time the boy died in the spring of 2015.

Meza claimed that God wanted the boy starved to get rid of demons inhabiting his body and ordered he go more than three weeks without food. She told investigators that God had told her the boy needed to fast. He was given nothing but water four or five times a day for 25 days, while followers were told not to help the child. Even after his "fast" was concluded, Meza still deprived the boy of food when he did not say “amen,” authorities said.

Aparicio died March 22, 2015, and Meza conducted a “rising ceremony” that day to bring him back to life. She told police later that she believed God would wake him up. When their ceremony failed, Meza and the child’s parents, who also were her followers, took the boy's body to Mexico the next day to be buried.

In videos of the resurrection ceremony after the little boy's death, Meza is seen holding his limp body in her arms as worshipers looked on, chanting words in Spanish into a microphone as she stroked the child’s hair and rubbed something on his forehead.

Nazareth Zurita, a follower of Meza's who testified against her, said she felt like she was in a "trance" when she lived in Meza's house. She admitted she didn't intervene while Aparicio was being abused and that if anyone questioned Meza, she would say, "The devil is speaking through you. You're the devil." 

An online court docket reveals that charges are pending against the boy’s parents, Zenon and Liliana Aparicio.

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