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3 facing charges in death of Benton County, Mo. child appear before a judge

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 11:15 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 6:14 PM CST
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WARSAW, Mo. (KY3) - Three of four charged in the death of a child in Benton County, Mo. in late December appeared before a judge.

Investigators say neighbors killed a 4-year-old girl to “remove a demon.” Prosecutors charged Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, with second-degree murder and other offenses.

The girl’s mother Mary S. Mast, 29 faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death and domestic assault. James A. Mast, 28, faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death, endangering the welfare of a child resulting in serious injury.

All appeared in court Tuesday except Ethan Mast. He does not have an attorney. A judge ordered him back in court January 19.

James is due back in court January 19th for his bond hearing and Mary is due back February 2nd for her bond hearing.

James Mast’s attorney is Scott Rosenblum. Mary Mast’s attorneys are Scott Pierson and Branden Twibell.

Aumen appeared in court with her three attorneys. They asked for a limited appearance with her next court date on the 19th. Her attorneys are Dee Wampler, Joe Passanise and Taylon Summers.

“Kourtney is 21-years of age. She’s never been in any criminal trouble. She comes from a good family and finds herself in a major case here in Benton county. Over the next several weeks as we take a look at the investigation and talk with her we will be addressing those issues in court,” said Kourtney Aumen’s attorney, Joe Passanise.

Two members of a Springfield child advocacy organization attended Tuesday’s hearings. They tell KY3 News they plan on being at every court date until the girl receives justice.

”Seeing them was very hard,” said Mel Pleasant & Tiffany Hill, Child Advocacy Against Pedophilia. “The mom especially. She laughed. She laughed when she left the courtroom. I find nothing funny not one thing funny about this case. About her daughter’s death. She turned around from her attorney she smiled the whole way out. That’s disturbing.”

The child advocacy group will also host a peaceful protest at the courthouse on January 16th.

“There’s some people that don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Pleasent. “She’s already dead. She’s gone. But it is. At the last minute they stripped that little girl from her pride and that’s why we stand here today.”

KY3 has been following this story since the 4-year-old girl’s death. Here’s a look at past stories:

Child dies, two others hurt after being beaten in Benton County, Mo.; two suspects behind bars

2 charged with second-degree murder, child abuse in death of child in Benton County, Mo.

Benton County, Mo. prosecutor charges parents of child investigators say was killed to remove a “demon”

Parents plead not guilty to charges in Benton County, Mo. girl’s death

Vigil planned Monday for child killed in Benton County; four charged in investigation

Benton County, Mo. community remembers 4-year-old girl killed

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