In episode one of the podcast, I talk about the case of Claudia Hernandez, whom is from San Jose, California and was age 25 at the time of the arrest. The victim is her daughter Arely Naomi Proctor, whom was 3 years old at the time of her death. Her mother and other family members allegedly conducted an exorcism on the child last September 2021. For more information on the case, you can research the case at
People of the State of California vs. Hernandez, Claudia Elisa, Case # C2201138
According to the Statement of facts provided by the San Jose police department:
On September 24, 2021, at approximately 8:12 p.m., the San Jose Police Department were notified of a child’s death after the mother reported that her 3-year-old daughter passed away. The location of the incident was a small backyard church. Fire/Medical personnel arrived on scene and located the victim on the floor of the church. They began life saving measures and the victim was transported to Valley Medical Center. The victim was pronounced deceased at 8:59 p.m. The death was later determined to be a homicide with a cause of death due to suffocation and smothering, with the final autopsy report pending.
Officers learned the suspects believed the child was possessed by a demon and they were at the church praying for her. The mother provided a statement to a patrol officer stating the victim was possessed by an evil spirit. The mother stated she attempted to stick her finger down the victim’s throat and then squeezed down on the victim’s throat with her hand.
When law enforcement interviewed the mother, she indicated that the night before the victim’s death she felt that the victim was possessed because the child would wake up and scream or cry periodically. The mother and her brother Rene Aaron Hernandez-Santos would pray over the child at their home. On 9/24/2021, at approximately 6:30 am the mother and the brother took the child to the grandfather’s church because they felt the child was still possessed. The grandfather also named Rene Trigueros Hernandez, was the pastor of the church. The mother told officers that she held the victim around her waist and neck to help her throw up, which she believed would help her get the spirit out. At various times the mother would attempt to open the child’s mouth with her hands. Later that day the grandfather arrived and would also assist them in prayer. At one point all three were holding down this small innocent child attempting to cause her to vomit.
One held her by the neck, while another held her by the abdomen, and the last individual held her legs. All three attempted to make the child vomit. Eventually the child did vomit a clear/purple liquid. The mother reported that she believed that the child died sometime between 6-630pm. This child for approximately 12 hours was at the church being physically held down and was being forced to vomit with hopes of releasing an evil spirt. Let us also not forget that prior to getting to the church the mother states they were “praying” over the child at home. I can’t even imagine how scary this was for the child or what kind of pain she went through.
The mother finally called 911 around 8:12p.m., two hours after the fact the child is already dead and that’s only after being convinced by other family members to do so.
The mother was not initially arrested at the time of the offense. Not sure if the police were waiting to get more evidence such as the autopsy report or maybe exorcism gets a special religious exemption as exorcisms are legal to do. However, I’m not sure how that works when someone dies as a result of one. While, I’m not trying to give the police a hard time on this it’s just that a child died and people literally go into custody for less violent offenses.
Either way the mother a few months after the death of her child went to YouTube starting on Jan. 6, and she starts posting videos. There is a total of 4, in what appears to be her hopes of becoming a social media influencer of some sort. On January 27, which is her last post, the mother goes into great detail about her finding out about her pregnancy, to the delivery and what she went through when the victim was an infant and the difficulties that she had. It is initially 30 minutes of dedication of her beautiful child of pictures and videos of the child’s very short life. I will say she does not say the child’s name and I can’t determine if that weird or not.
At about 30:33 minutes into the video the mother goes on to say there are many reasons that God took her child. She shows concerns as to what if the child had gotten sick or something would have happened to her.
On January 31, 2022, suspect Claudia Hernandez-Santos, was arrested and formally charged with child abuse leading to the death of the victim.
On May 11, 2022, both the brother and the grandfather were taken into custody by the San José Police Department’s Special Operations Division, MERGE Unit, on charges of child abuse leading to the death of the victim.
This is still a pending case, no one is guilty until proven so.
All three await their fate through the criminal justice system, this offense carries a 25 year to life penalty. Hopefully the child will get some sort of justice because I’m not really sure how you can explain this just as accident. It should be interesting to see if they plea out or if the mother put the blames on her brother or grandfather for the child’s death.
My take aways from this is:
Regarding exorcism is anyone allowed to perform them? Where was the child’s father, Did the mother ever complain to the child’s father about these “episodes?” In this case the mother and family members held the child down and stuck their fingers in the child’s throat in order to make her vomit, is this standard for exorcism? Are there different types of exorcisms? While they may have had the best of intentions a child still died and they allegedly all participate and therefore should all be held responsible.
San Jose Police Department Media Relations Unit
San Jose Police Department Statement of facts report retrieved from https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/21970391/sof-public.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCevkNttraB95Wuqj1naFW1w the mothers youtube page