On March 26, Texas police responded to an anonymous tip claiming that a 2-year-old boy had died from starvation almost one week earlier. Instead of seeking medical help, the tipster claimed that the toddler's guardians had taken him to a service at Congregacional Pueblo de Dios where they attempted to perform a "rising ceremony" to bring him back to life, thinking he was possessed by demons.
A video has since surfaced of Aracely Meza, the church's secretary, praying and chanting over the child's dead body. When the ceremony fails, she can be seen crying over the boy.
After the ceremony, the parents reportedly wrapped the child in a blanket and took him to Mexico for burial.
Meza, who is not related to the toddler, has since been arrested and charged with injury to a child by omission. The child's parents have not been located.
NBC News' M. Alex Johnson reports:
Congregacional Pueblo De Dios, which was formed in 2007, is affiliated with the Hispanic Conference of the Congregational Holiness Church, a Pentecostal denomination based in Griffin, Georgia. The evangelical denomination was created by a schism in the Pentecostal movement in the 1920s.
"We don't know if this was to try and resurrect the spirt of the child and we don't know if this was to try and resurrect the child themselves or what exactly that service or ceremony encompasses," said Lt. Mark Maret in an interview with a local CBS affiliate. "This is all new. That's why we are putting in a lot of other agencies and their resources and their kowledge and assistance in this investigation."