Shocking video surfaced this week of a ‘resurrection’ ceremony where a Texas pastor and self-proclaimed prophet allegedly tried to breathe life back into a dead toddler’s body. Now, authorities are investigating this macabre case that has all the earmarks of a backwoods cult… only this God-gone-wrong story happened in Dallas County and the prophet is in police custody.
The details behind the alleged March 22 death of a two-year old toddler, believed to be male, have largely unraveled in eyewitness testimony taken from neighbors and/or witnesses who lived in the Balch Springs home that doubled as an unlicensed church. The residence belongs to pastors Daniel and Araceli (also documented as Aracely) Meza, the suspects.
Araceli Meza, 49, is the self-employed pastor who was taken into custody on April 8 by local law enforcement and charged with first degree felony injury to a child. She is being held on $100,000 bond.
The Church of Jesus the King lists her as a pastor and a prophet. Their website promotes her first novel, Un Milagro del Dios en la Frontera, which translates into “a miracle from God on the border” that mixes politics and faith on the US-Mexican border. It is publicized as the testimony of a miracle of God given through faith. It is intended to bless any reader via the teaching of a life directed by God.
It appears, though, that a two-year-old may be dead because of ritualistic negligence and starvation that culminated in a bizarre “rising ceremony” where Meza allegedly attempted to exorcise demons from the toddler’s lifeless body on the evening of March 22.
Breitbart Texas obtained the arrest warrant from Operations Division Lt. Mark Maret at the Balch Springs Police Department. Dated April 9, it decribes an insane situation that began when officers were dispatched on a routine welfare check at the home in question on the 12300 block of Duke Drive in Balch Springs. They spoke with neighbors through a Spanish speaking translator. They told officers that a child had died in the Meza ministry/home.
It appears that the victim had been put on a deadly time-out by Meza. Tipsters told law enforcement that he had been fasting for at least 20 days and was only given water. Meza would pray and “all Victim had to say was ‘Amen’,” the report stated. The testimony claimed that “if Victim acted up or would not say ‘Amen’ during feeding, Victim would be denied food.”
On April 1, Meza told Balch Springs detectives that the toddler’s routine doctor visits stopped after the fasting began. Meza was purportedly starving the devil out of him. One witness described attempts to sneak the food to the child. When Meza learned of this deed, she separated the victim from the witness, who also had lived in the home for about four months, according to chronicled testimony.
One kitchen incident in the police report took place just prior to the purported demise. The toddler knelt down to pick up crayons. A witness in the home observed his head “going back” and later, Meza commented to the boy’s mother “Look how the devil has him.”
Witnesses also told police that during the failed ceremony, it took a while before Meza either realized or accepted that the young child was dead despite her attempts to resurrect him.
Following his supposed death, Meza claimed God spoke to her telling her that the boy was dead and that the family should take him home to Mexico for burial. Meza and the victim’s mother left on Monday, March 23. The victim’s father left two days later based on more witness testimony, the affidavit also noted.
The cause of the youngster’s death remains somewhat shrouded in confusion. Witness testimony provided to law enforcement painted a picture of a boy starved prior to his death. Meanwhile, when Meza and her husband spoke to Balch Springs detectives through an interpreter, Meza insisted that the boy had fallen down in his mother’s care when she was not onsite. Officers told Meza she was being recorded when asked for details of the alleged crime.
She also insisted she had the parents’ permission for the fasting treatment. A witness described the boy as skin and bones at the time of his death. Although, in the affidavit, Meza claimed that the fasting ended “when Victim looked like an alien, that was the sign and the demons were gone.” Three weeks later, the boy was dead. Meza told officials that “Victim was not given medical help because Victim began eating and started to act normal again.”
The police report indicated that in the interview with Meza, she took responsibility, being the church leader. Other than Meza’s recorded statements, witness information is the only evidence. WFAA 8 reported that it is even possible that the child is alive. However, detectives are treating this as a homicide and working in partnership with local, state, federal and Mexican agencies.
To date, police have not been able to contact the alleged victim’s parents and are not certain that a death occurred. Despite sensationalized media coverage, there is no record of a child’s death reported.
The affidavit noted that police took from the home bedding, clothing, audio and video, plus recording devices that had alleged video of the rising ceremony ritual for further investigation. There were five other children living with their parents in the home. They are all now in foster care, also according to WFAA 8.
Previously, Maret told the Dallas Morning News that the parents are “the only ones who can tell us for sure what happened.” He added that the best case scenario is one where the child is alive and healthy.
He told Breitbart Texas that the case remains ongoing.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.