A California woman and her parents were arrested for fatally abusing and torturing her adopted daughter, who was 11 years old, police said.
Leticia McCormack, 49, and her elderly parents were charged in San Diego County with torturing Arabella McCormack, who was transported to a hospital at the end of August and later died, the sheriff’s office said in a press release. McCormack and her father, Stanley Tom, were also accused of murder.
According to police, the investigation began in the early morning hours of Aug. 30, when sheriff’s deputies received a call about a “child in distress” at a home on Lakeview Drive in Spring Valley.
Officials did not provide information pertaining to how Arabella was injured but said medics rushed the girl to a hospital, where she declined to the point she could not be saved.
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Officers began to suspect that the girl had been abused, police said. Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Steffen told the San Diego Tribune Arabella’s body appeared to be bruised, and she had endured “severe levels of malnourishment.”
Arabella had two younger siblings, ages six and seven, whom the McCormacks also adopted, the newspaper reported. Both girls have since been placed in foster care, and deputies were investigating McCormack and other suspects on similar charges related to the two younger children.
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Investigators caught up with Arabella’s adopted father, Brian McCormack, near the family’s Spring Valley home. There, Brian committed suicide while he was in deputies’ presence, police said.
Steffen told the Union-Tribune investigators did not have evidence “to outright say” whether Brian was involved or how. Brian was reportedly an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol.
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Police are asking anyone with information related to this case to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit at 858-285-6330, or to leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.