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Girl, 11, who was allegedly killed by mom weighed just 48 pounds

An 11-year-old San Diego girl who died after allegedly being tortured and starved by her adoptive mom and grandparents was so emaciated that “her bones protruded from her skin,” a prosecutor revealed to gasps in a courtroom.

Horrifying new details about Arabella McCormack’s death were revealed at a bail hearing Tuesday at El Cajon Superior Court for Leticia McCormack, 49, an ordained elder at a local megachurch, and her mother Adella Tom, 70.

McCormack was charged last month with murder, torture and willful cruelty to a child in the death of the 11-year-old. Tom was slapped with torture and cruelty charges.

Stanley Tom, 75, McCormack’s father, also was charged with murder, torture and willful cruelty but previously waived his right to revisit his no-bail status, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

The Toms have both served as volunteers with San Diego Police Department since 2015, according to the paper.

Leticia McCormack and her mother Adella Tom, who are charged in the death of 11-year-old Arabella
Leticia McCormack, 49, right, and her mother Adella Tom, 70, during a bail hearing at El Cajon Superior Court in San Diego.

 “We can imagine no scenario where individuals like this, are facing charges such as this, against outrageous evil actions such as this, where they are not a danger to the public,” Deputy District Attorney Meredith Pro said Tuesday, the paper reported.

Judge Kathleen Lewis ordered McCormack and her mother to remain locked up without bail after hearing about the horrific nature of the crime and saying the suspects are a danger to the public.

Dead girl Arabella McCormack
Arabella McCormack weighed just 48 pounds at the time of her death.
San Diego County Sheriff
McCormack family
Murder suspect Leticia McCormack, 49, seen with Arabella, her younger sisters and her husband, Brian McCormack, who has committed suicide.

Arabella weighed just 48 pounds when she died in August – less than she did when she was just 5 years old, Pro said.

She was so skinny that “her bones protruded from her skin,” she said to audible gasps in the courtroom.

McCormack – who volunteered as an ordained elder and administrator at the Rock Church – and her parents allegedly abused and tortured Arabella and her two younger sisters for about five and a half years, officials said.

The suspects deprived the children of food and water, Pro said, and beat them with paddles and sticks, the Union Tribune reported.

They also isolated the girls in their rooms, denied them access to bathrooms and forced them to engage in rigorous exercises, according to Pro.

Arabella McCormack
Arabella was taken in by the McCormacks in 2017.
San Diego County Sheriff

Arabella was covered in bruises and had at least 15 separate bone fractures, she said. The two younger girls survived the nightmare but were hospitalized for three weeks.

The women’s defense attorneys argued that their clients do not pose a threat to the public and have no criminal history.

Gregory Garrison, McCormack’s attorney, asked Lewis to set bail at $1 million, while Tom’s attorney, Randy Wagner, asked for bail to be set at $100,000.

Leticia McCormack, who is charged with the murder and torture of her 11-year-old adopted daughter.
Leticia McCormack was charged with the murder and torture of her 11-year-old adopted daughter.
YouTube/Leticia McCormack

“Ms. McCormack has no prior arrests,” Garrison said, NBC San Diego reported. “No prior convictions, and there is no evidence – let me say it again, there is no evidence to support an argument that she poses a danger to the public.”

Wagner also noted that his client is frail.

“She, I think more so, does not represent a danger to the community,” the public defender said.

But the judge wasn’t swayed, saying the abuse involved a “great deal of callousness” and occurred over a long period of time.

The Toms have both served as volunteers with San Diego Police Department since 2015. But it’s precisely that community leadership that the prosecutor said makes this all the more troubling.

Arabella’s adoptive father, Brian McCormack, who served as a Border Patrol agent, killed himself in front of police after doctors declared her dead.

Authorities have denied NBC San Diego’s request for Child Welfare Services records.

When asked outside the courtroom how the child abuse was allowed to continue for so long, Pro told the news outlet, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

McCormack and her parents have all pleaded not guilty and are due back in court in January.

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