Girl, 11, Allegedly Endured More than 700 Acts of Abuse

Girl, 11, Allegedly Endured More than 700 Acts of Abuse
Girl, 11, Allegedly Endured More than 700 Acts of Abuse

The adoptive mother and grandparents of 11-year-old California girl Arabella McCormack have been accused of torturing and starving her to death in new charges filed by prosecutors, according to reports. 

Prosecutors allege in charges filed on Jan. 16 that Leticia McCormack, 49, and parents Stanley, 77, and Adella Tom, 72, “worked as a team” to carry out more than 700 acts of abuse on Arabella that led to her death from malnutrition in Aug. 2022.

Arabella weighed just 48 lbs. when she died, prosecutors said.

In the updated criminal complaint, obtained by The San Diego Union-TribuneNBC San Diego and CBS 8, prosecutors accuse the trio of punishing Arabella for how she ate her cereal, depriving her and other children in the home of food and water and striking them with a belt or paddle at home.

Leticia was a leader at Rock Church in San Diego, the megachurch founded and led by former NFL player Miles McPherson. Her leadership profile has since been removed from the church’s website, and the church told NBC San Diego in 2022 that it was severing ties with her.

The three suspects accused in the child abuse death case of Arabella McCormack
The three suspects accused in the child abuse death case of Arabella McCormack

It was also alleged by prosecutors that Arabella was prevented from bathroom visits and forced to exercise wearing wet clothes and plastic bags in the weeks leading up to her death, the outlets reported. Prosecutors believe the alleged abuse started in Feb. 2019 and continued up until the day Arabella died. 

All three suspects are each charged with murder, conspiracy to commit child torture, child abuse and torture. If convicted of all of the charges, they could face up to 46 years to life in prison.

Arabella's family
Arabella’s family

Adella’s murder charge, along with the charges of conspiracy to commit child torture against all three defendants, were filed last week. It’s not clear if those defendants have entered pleas to the charges filed last week.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the other charges, the Union-Tribune reports. University Magazine was not immediately able to reach lawyers for them.

The three defendants will return for a status hearing in court on Jan. 30, the Union-Tribune reported.

 

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to University Magazine’s request for further comment. 

In late August 2022, police responded to a call from a distressed child at a Spring Valley home where they found Arabella, a statement to University Magazine by the San Diego Sheriff’s office said at the time.

Arabella McCormack
Arabella McCormack

The 11-year-old died shortly after being rushed to hospital. Arabella had “severe levels of malnourishment” and was covered in bruises at the time of death, a police spokesperson told the Union-Tribune in 2022. She was adopted along with three girls “a couple of years” after moving in with Leticia in 2017, according to family and friends, per NBC San Diego.

Arabella’s father Brian McCormack — who would have also faced charges — died by suicide near the family’s home in front of officers in 2022, according to the police statement at the time. 

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.