The 5-year-old girl had been behaving badly, police said, so her mother, a hairstylist, took her and her 8-year-old brother to a “sleepover” at the home of a client who shared her belief in Voodoo.
It was there that Rachelle Eddins, her mother, would help hold down the girl as Peggy LaBossiere held a fiery stick over the child and then blew the flames over her face, the girl’s brother told police, according to The Enterprise. The girl and her brother would endure other tortures over a period of several days, The Boston Globe said.
The fire was part of a Voodoo ritual to cast out demons, police said. LaBossiere, 51, her sister Rachel Hilaire, 40, and the girl’s mother believed her children were misbehaving “due to evil spirits,” police said, according to The Globe.
Eddins had taken her children to stay with LaBossiere, a client of hers, and Hilaire at their East Bridgewater, Massachusetts apartment, police told The Enterprise. The girl told officers they were going for a “sleepover,” authorities said.
East Bridgewater police were called to the sisters’ home in January to perform a health and welfare check on her and her kids, police said, after her family said they were possibly staying there, The Globe said.
That’s when officers found the girl with a large third-degree burn across her face, according to the police report first obtained by The Enterprise. Eddins told officers the burn was caused by a demon leaving the girl’s body, police said.
She explained that she’s of Haitain descent, The Enterprise said, and believes in the religion of Voodoo, which originated in Haiti in the 18th century and involves the worship of spirits, according to the newspaper.
LaBossiere and Hilaire allegedly poured boiling water with chemicals on the girl’s face, FOX 25 said. Police say LaBossiere admitted she and her sister performed what she calls “cleansing baths” on the girl that included the use of burning myrrh and frankincense “while praying,” The Globe reported.
The sisters also tied down the girl on two occasions, the girl’s brother told police, tying her hands to a stick above her head and tying her feet together so she formed a cross, The Enterprise said. LaBossiere allegedly used a pointy object to cut her on her arm and collar area, the newspaper reported.
The girl’s brother was threatened into silence, police said. The sisters allegedly told him they would cut his head off with a machete, according to FOX 25.
Police removed the children from the home after the well being check, court documents say, but the girl may be scarred for life. Police said the chemicals the women used on the girl's face burned her so badly that the injuries may never heal, NECN reported.
“Two friends did a voodoo procedure is what they called it,” Deputy Police Chief Paul O’Brien told FOX 25. “They are young kids, and they were writing it off, as there were evil spirits possessing the kids.”
The girl and her brother are in state custody, The Boston Globe reported. Eddins was sent to a hospital for mental health treatment.
LaBossiere and Hilaire are charged with mayhem, assault and other offenses.