A Ferndale woman was arrested Friday after she allegedly was seen on a Humboldt County beach striking, biting and choking her 11-year-old child in an attempted exorcism.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call abut 9 a.m. reporting a mother attacking her child at Centerville beach near Ferndale. The caller said the mother was attempting to perform an exorcism. She had stripped the child naked and was shoving handfuls of sand in the youngster’s eyes and mouth, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. The woman reportedly stated that she was trying to remove demons from the child.
The mother was identified as 45-year-old Kimberly Felder.
The alleged assault was witnessed by a crowd of 10 to 12 people, the news release said. A local resident, John Marciel, stepped in and tried to restrain Felder. He struggled with her on the ground as Felder continued to attack the child, hitting the youngster in the head with a piece of driftwood, according to the news release.
A sheriff’s deputy arrived a short time later, pulled Felder away from the child and placed her in handcuffs.
The child was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries, including severe damage to an ear, the news release said.
Felder was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse and aggravated mayhem.
The Sheriff’s Office commended Marciel for intervening, saying he likely prevented the youngster from being killed. The Sheriff’s Office is requesting that Marciel be recognized with the Red Cross Life Saving Award for his actions, the news release said.