Exclusive: Man who rescued girl from alleged 'exorcism' speaks out (full interview)
FERNDALE, Calif. - John Marciel may have saved the life of an 11-year-old girl when he saw her being attacked by her mother on a beach.
He spoke with North Coast News about witnessing the brutal attack and his attempts to save the child from the grips of her violent mother. Marciel said at around 9 a.m. on June 16 he saw the little girl being attacked at Centerville Beach in Ferndale, Calif.
Investigators said the child's mother, Kimberly Felder, was attempting to perform an exorcism on her daughter, and that her actions nearly killed the 11-year-old girl.
According to deputies, 45-year-old Felder stripped her daughter naked and threw handfuls of sand into her mouth and eyes. Officials said she also hit, bit and choked the girl.
When John Marciel saw the assault in progress, he said he tried to stop it.
First he called 9-1-1, then attempted to stop the attack. Deputies said Marciel struggled on the ground with Felder, while she continued to hit the child in the head with a piece of driftwood. A short time later, a sheriff's deputy arrived and Felder was finally pulled from the child and placed in handcuffs, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.
Felder was arrested for attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse and aggravated mayhem.
Deputies said they believe Marciel's actions may have saved the girl's life, and they will be recommending that he receive the Red Cross Lifesaver Award.