German Prosecutors Charge Five Family Members in Exorcism Death

On December 5, 2015, a 41-year-old Korean woman living in the German state of Hesse died after hours of torture reportedly carried out by family members during an exorcism.  The ordeal began when the woman, unnamed in the German press, began lashing out and talking to herself in a bizarre fashion while meeting with family in a room at a Frankfurt hotel.  The five family members present, including the woman's fifteen-year-old son, restrained the woman and decided to carry out an exorcism to cast out whatever evil spirit was possessing her.

While the two youngest family sat on the woman's legs, another twenty-two-year-old cousin held her shoulders while his mother, a forty-four-year old cousin, stuffed a towel and fabric-covered clothes hangers in the victim's mouth to keep her from screaming.  Over the next two hours, the family members inflicted what prosecutors describe as "pains and torture on her body that went far beyond what is necessary to kill someone.”   Cause of death is believed to be due to smothering along with massive injuries to her neck and chest.   The victim's sister was later found in a house in southern Germany suffering from hypothermia and extreme thirst. 

After realizing the woman was dead, the forty-four-year-old cousin called her pastor from the Korean Evangelical Zion Church who then notified authorities. All five family members are currently in custody and have been charged with murder.  They have all undergone psychiatric assessments to rule out any possibility of a diminished responsibility plea.   The accused are from South Korea and had only been in the country for a few weeks before the killing.

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