Parents of Benton County 4-year-old pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning

Nation and World News

BENTON COUNTY, Mo.- 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 will have a bond hearing on January 5.

James and his wife Mary are charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child- death of a child and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child- serious physical injury.

The two were arrested Christmas Eve at a home in Morgan County.

The parents were instructed by their neighbors, Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen, not to provide aid or comfort to the children or themselves when the neighbors would beat them.

Mast and Aumen told the family they were beating the “demons” out of the family. The 4-year-old girl died, the mother and her two-year-old son were taken to a hospital with severe bruising.

James Mast did tell investigators that even though he and Ethan have the same last name, they are not related.

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