Mom Fatally Slashes 'Demon' Daughter
Cops say she feared that her daughter was possessed by the devil.
April 10, 2008 — -- A young mother has confessed to brutally slashing her daughter to death because she believed the child — who had a history of sleepwalking — was possessed by the devil, authorities in Illinois said this week.
Nelly Vasquez-Salazar, 25, is being held on $5 million bond after appearing in court Tuesday to face a first-degree murder charge.
Authorities found the body of Vasquez-Salazar's 6-year-old daughter, Evelyn Vasquez, early Monday morning in the family's Waukegan, Ill., apartment. The child, who died of multiple stab wounds to her neck and upper chest, according to the coroner, was found on the floor of her bedroom.
She had been stabbed 11 times, prosecutors and investigators said at a Tuesday news conference. A butcher's knife that they believe to be the murder weapon was recovered, as was a religious picture featuring St. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. The artwork had been cut up by a knife.
"She had had conversations with her mother because Evelyn had been sleepwalking and [Vasquez-Salazar] would wake up and her daughter would be standing by her bed," William Biang, Waukegan police chief, told ABC News. "The theory was that the daughter was possessed."
Authorities responded to the apartment at 4:40 a.m. Monday after Vasquez-Salazar went to a neighbor's apartment reportedly covered with slashes to her own hands and wrists.
Vasquez-Salazar initially told investigators that she killed her daughter in self-defense after the child came at her with a knife, according to Stephen Scheller, an assistant state's attorney in Lake County, but the woman later admitted to being fearful of a daughter possessed by the devil.
"The first statement we received from the defendant was that it was an act of self-defense," Scheller said. "After she made the statement to detectives, she later recanted it, made a second statement, which she admitted in fact she had stabbed her daughter multiple times about the body."
Domenic Cappelluti, a detective for the Waukegan police, cited a recent call between the suspect and the suspect's mother in Mexico that could have, in part, prompted the killing.