BENTON COUNTY, Mo. (KOLR) -- The parents of a 4-year-old girl who died last week were arraigned in court Monday morning.
According to court records, James and Mary Mast pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing Monday and were scheduled for a January 5 bond hearing.
James Mast is charged with first-degree child endangerment resulting in serious physical injury, and first-degree child endangerment resulting in death.
Mary Mast is charged with first-degree domestic assault with a weapon causing physical injury, and first-degree child endangerment resulting in death.
Benton County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a dead child in the city of Cole Camp about 1 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, where they found 4-year-old girl dead. A 2-year-old child and their 28-year-old mother, later identified as Mary Mast, were found severely beaten at the same residence.
James Mast, 28, told deputies his 4-year-old daughter had been beaten, submerged in a pond and left to freeze on the bank of the pond before she was taken inside the residence.
Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, and first-degree sexual abuse with physical harm. They were held without bond.
James Mast told police he is not related to Ethan Mast. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said James and Mary Mast were arrested Christmas Eve at a home in Morgan County.
Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen told the family they were beating the “demons” out of the family. The 4-year-old girl's entire body had been beaten when she was found. James Mast told investigators the beatings had been ongoing for about two weeks, and said he was beaten with a wooden spoon two days earlier.
The father said that Ethan Mast and Aumen threatened him and said if he did not comply, someone would get shot. James Mast was allegedly told by Aumen not to provide aid or comfort to his family or "Satan would come." James Mast said the beatings over the two weeks had included forcing the girl's parents to perform sexual acts on her with a foreign object.