Toowoomba, Twelve members of religious group arrested over death of child allegedly denied medical treatment for six days

Twelve people have been arrested and are in the process of being charged with the murder of an eight-year-old girl, who was found dead in a Queensland property after she was allegedly denied access to medical treatment.

Police allege Elizabeth Rose Struhs, who has type 1 diabetes, was denied access to insulin for six days by a fringe religious group in Toowoomba, who were aware of the child’s illness.

Elizabeth Rose Struhs, 8, was found dead on January 8. (GoFundMe)

9News understands the group of Christians who resided in the Rangeville home believed the young girl would be “healed by God” prior to her death and are alleged to have prayed, sang and chanted over the girl’s body for 24 hours before calling emergency services.

Elizabeth’s parents were also part of the church group, which police understand consists of three families.

A search warrant was executed leading to the arrest of 12 people believed responsible for the death today. (Queensland Police)

“It will be alleged the child suffered an underlying medical condition, who was denied treatment for that condition over a period of six days,” Southern Region Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts said.

Watts said Elizabeth passed away on January 7, but emergency services were not notified until 5.30pm the next day.

A search warrant was executed at the home in Homestead Avenue early on Tuesday morning, where 30 officers arrested the 12 people, ranging in ages from 19 to 64.

The little girl was allegedly denied medical treatment for an underlying health condition for six days before her death January 7. (Queensland Police)

The seven women and five men were located in the living room of the property, used as a place of worship.

Pastor Brendan Stevens had just had a shower when he was also arrested.

“All of the 12 arrested were aware of the child’s condition, were there at the address and did not take any steps to provide medical assistance to the child,” police alleged.

They will appear in court on Wednesday to each face murder charges.

The parents of the child, a 47-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man, had already been arrested during investigations into Elizabeth’s death.

They were charged January 11 with murder, torture and failure to comply with necessities of life.

Eight women and four men aged 19 to 64 were taken into custody. (Queensland Police)

Watts said the six month investigation to catch the remaining 12 alleged perpetrators was complex, involving the Toowoomba child protection investigative unit, the child trauma unit and homicide investigators.

“It’s not the kind of situation we as investigators are faced with commonly,” he said.

“In my nearly 40 years of policing, I haven’t been faced with a matter like this.”

“It’s a very complex investigation and I’m not aware of a similar event in Queensland let alone Australia.

“It’s a tragic set of circumstances.”

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