TWELVE members of a religious group have been charged in the death of a diabetic girl who was allegedly refused insulin in Australia.
Elizabeth Rose Struhs’ body was found at the family’s Queensland home – which also served as a cult church – and police say her parents prayed for her healing rather than giving her medication.
Police say the eight-year-old, who had type 1 diabetes, was denied medical care by the cult, whose members have now been charged with murder.
Elizabeth was found at the Toowoomba property on January 11, but police believe she actually died four days earlier.
Dramatic footage showed police finding the cult members in a living room of a Harristown home described as a place of worship.
The seven women and five men are between 19 and 64 years old.
“All 12 of those arrested were aware of the condition of the child, were present at the address and took no steps to provide medical assistance to the child,” police claim.
The accused will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 6 June.
“It is alleged that the child had an underlying medical condition and was denied treatment for that condition for a period of six days,” said Southern Region Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts.
Her arrest follows a six-month investigation “during which all officers involved worked to ensure those allegedly responsible for her deaths are brought to justice,” Watts said.
The group of Christians knew of Elizabeth’s illness but believed the little girl would be “healed by God,” reports 9News.
Her anti-vaccination parents, Jason Struhs, 50, and Kerrie, 46, were arrested earlier this year as part of the investigation into Elizabeth’s death.
Both were charged with murder, torture and failure to provide basic necessities.
Police say the couple believed their daughter was suffering from “worms” and that God had “promised 100 percent healing.”
Police also claim the parents held a “prayer ritual” before inviting up to 20 members of the fringe religious group to play guitar, sing and pray for her ailing body for over 24 hours instead of calling for help.
Only then did they reportedly call emergency services — at 5:30 p.m. the next day.
Police said the cult consists of three families, including other children. Cult members refer to themselves as “The Saints”.
The little girl’s older sister, Jayde Struhs, who escaped the cult at age 16 “because of the fear-driven and controlling beliefs that my parents are separated from,” has since vowed to look after the remaining five siblings under 18 years to take care of.
Speaking to a GoFundMe page, Struhs, who came out as a lesbian when she was a teenager, explained: “They take religion to the extreme and separate us from the real world and extended family that didn’t believe.”
Shunned by her parents, Struhs graduated from high school, is involved in community sports and lives in Brisbane with her partner Emma.
“On Tuesday, January 11th, our extended family was confronted with the news which left us completely devastated and heartbroken.
“We sadly discovered Elizabeth’s death in the most gruesome manner. With so many unanswered questions, we faced the brutal reality that the people who should have protected her didn’t, and we may never know the full extent of what happened. ” She wrote.
Struhs spoke about how Elizabeth was “taken from us too soon” and celebrated the little girl’s inspirational “brave spirit in the face of medical adversity.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5712739/12-cult-members-charged-elizabeth-rose-struhs-death/ Twelve 8-year-old accused of having diabetes dies after being ‘denied insulin by a cult who sang and danced while she died’