A California woman was arrested for attempted homicide yesterday after she stripped her 11-year-old daughter naked, shoved sand in her eyes and mouth, choked her, and tried to “remove the Demons from the child.”
The little girl would have died if it weren’t for the intervention of a local man, who told me in an interview that he believes “God sent” him to save her.
From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s press release:
The mother, 45 year old Kimberly Felder of Ferndale, continued the assault by viciously striking, biting, and choking the child. This assault was being witnessed by a crowd of approximately 10 to 12 people. When local citizen John Marciel arrived on scene, he immediately stepped in and attempted to restrain Felder and prevent further assault to the child. Marciel struggled on the ground with the Felder, while Felder continued her persistent attack on the child by hitting the child in the head with a piece of driftwood. A short time later a Sheriff’s Deputy arrived and Felder was finally pulled from the child and placed in handcuffs.
John Marceil further assisted by tending to the child while deputies controlled Felder. Emergency Medical technicians arrived and transported the child to a hospital where she received further treatment for her injuries. The child received multiple injuries from the attack including severe damage to her right ear.
If it were not for the intervention and heroic actions of John Marciel, it is very likely that the child would have been killed by Felder. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer special thanks for his assistance. The Sheriff’s Office will also be requesting that John Marciel be recognized for the Red Cross Life Saving Award.
I tracked down Marceil to ask his opinion on the nature of the incident and find out more about his heroic, life-saving actions. He not only said he believes in God, but that he also thinks God sent him to save the girl from being killed by her mother (who was also purportedly motivated by her faith).
This interview has been edited for clarity.
McAFEE: Can you tell me a little bit about what happened? Were you just walking by when you saw this girl being abused?
MARCIEL: I just drove up in the parking lot at the Centerville beach parking area and I parked and saw her being abused.
McAFEE: Why did you decide to intervene? Was the girl’s life at risk?
MARCIEL: I had to intervene. It’s the right thing to do. And yes, her life was in danger.
McAFEE: Are you a religious man? Did you know that the woman was trying to “expel demons” from her daughter?
MARCIEL: I do believe in God, and she was yelling at me that was what she was doing: trying to expel the demon, as she put it.
McAFEE: Do you believe in exorcisms/demons?
MARCIEL: Well, if one believes in God, the demons are there also, but there are actions that happened on that beach that I will not say until or if I have to go to court. The things that lady was saying did not add up for it to be an exorcism or even a belief. Plain and simple, she was trying to kill that little girl.
McAFEE: Did the little girl ask for help? Was she saying she didn’t have demons?
MARCIEL: Yes, the little girl was asking for help. She was screaming for it.
McAFEE: Is there anything else you can tell me?
MARCIEL: I believe in God, and from everything thing I was taught in Sunday School to what my pastor taught me, the things she was doing were not in any way or form an exorcism. No holy water, no crosses, no religious relics were present, and I feel in my heart God sent me there for a reason and it might have been that. Hopefully I passed in the lord’s eyes.
I am extremely grateful for Marciel’s actions, but this last part stood out to me.
Once again, we have two people of faith at odds with each other about what God wants them to do. I’d like to think God would be on the side of Marciel, but then again, we all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. God has a propensity for child sacrifice.
I’m just happy the little girl is getting treatment and the mom has been charged with “attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse, and aggravated mayhem.” Hopefully justice will be served.