Nantucket Child Murdered During Exorcism

Bizarre Religious Rite Blamed In Child's Death


A child's balloon still floats over a chair at the Nantucket murder scene. David Curran photo.

Nantucket recoiled in horror as word leaked from the police about the details surrounding a child who passed away Monday.

Dora Alicia Tejada Pleitez, 26, of 13B Pine Tree Road in Nantucket was taken in for questioning after her three year old daughter passed away. It was what turned up during questioning that really shocked the island.

Dora, who is from El Salvador, began singing and chanting while being questioned. She expressed a belief that God could speak through her. Then she dropped the bombshell. God had told her that her daughter would be possessed by the devil unless the child had a rose stuck down her throat.

At 1:18 PM, Nicole Garcia, age 3, was pronounced dead at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. We're not sure if she choked on the rose, or if one was found in her throat during the medial examination.

Left alone in the interview room, Dora assumed a crucifixion pose for several minutes, became agitated, and tried to leave the room.

Dora originally told a tale of falling off the couch while holding her daughter, then waking up with people asking if she/someone had hurt Nicole. At the police station, this story began to unravel.

Left alone in the police interview room, she assumed a crucifixion pose for several minutes. She became agitated during questioning, and tried to leave. Police noticed a wound on her hand, and she was taken to the hospital for medical attention.

While they were treating her, a translator was brought in. An officer was stationed to her room. It was then that Dora revealed that God had told her that demons were in the child. The only way to get them out was to jam a rose down her throat. Rose petals were found on the scene.

Dora also mentioned to the translator that, at some point, she realized she was sticking her fist in the child's throat instead of the rose. She blamed the Devil for using Nicole to bite her.

An officer eavesdropped on the conversation between Dora and her translator.

An officer eavesdropped on the conversation between Dora and her translator, which is where the rose/devil story started to come forth.

I'm not sure if this will blow the case or not, nor do I know whether her translator was the Priest who later told the press basically the same rose-fist-throat story that the cop overheard. The results of the mental health evaluation will go a long way towards determining the character of the case brought against Dora.

Interviews with family members revealed that Dora had been on a religious retreat recently. She felt that the Holy Spirit could speak through her.  Dora also had a longstanding belief that she could see the dead. She claimed that Nicole resembled a dead relative.

She believed this to the extent that she had told family the child was now to be called "Maria Elena." That was the name of Dora's deceased sister, and Dora saw a resemblance between Nicole and Maria.

Dora's sister-in-law first realized something was up after repeatedly being called into the room to pray, and called Dora's brother to the scene. As he drove to the scene, he took a call from Dora where she said that Maria Elena was in the room with her. The brother called in authorities after arriving and realizing that the child- who Dora would not let anyone see- was dead.

The brother's timely arrival saved Dora's son, who she had also come to believe was possessed. She had both children in her hands at one point during the incident, amd had mentioned her belief that both needed to be exorcised.

A rose (or garlic) shoved into the throat  is a purported folk remedy for vampirism, we should add. It makes the blood bitter, and drives off the spook. These particular vampire-slaying beliefs are more commonly held among rural/Gypsy people in Romania. To be fair to the Catholics, no rite of Exorcism recognized by the Church involves jamming a rose/fist down a child's throat.

Read the original story with
video of murder scene here.

Dora is being held pending a mental competency evaluation. She is not being allowed bail, and will be charged with murder. She was taken off-island for her examination, most likely to the mental health unit at Barnstable Hospital. An insanity defense seems likely. 

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