Home Christian News Former Megachurch Elder Arrested for Torture, Murder of Adoptive Daughter

Former Megachurch Elder Arrested for Torture, Murder of Adoptive Daughter

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Image credit: (L) Google Maps, (R) sdsheriff.gov

A former elder at San Diego’s Rock Church—a megachurch founded by former NFL player Miles McPhersonhas been arrested and charged with the murder and torture of her 11-year-old adoptive daughter. Leticia McCormack and her parents, Stanley and Adella Tom, were arrested on Nov. 7 in connection with the death of Arabella McCormack. 

“I pray Leticia and her parents rot in that prison,” said Torriana Florey, Arabella’s biological mother, at the arraignment. “I want everything thrown at them, the book, everything.” 

Rock Church Elder Arrested for Murder, Torture 

On Aug. 30, sheriff’s deputies responded to a 2 a.m. “call of a child in distress” at a home on Lakeview Drive in Spring Valley. “The child, Arabella McCormack, was rushed to a hospital,” said the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in a press release. “During the investigation, detectives suspected signs of possible child abuse. While in the hospital, Arabella’s health declined and she died.” Lt. Chris Steffen told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the girl’s body showed signs of bruising and “severe levels of malnourishment.”

“The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit responded and assumed responsibility of the investigation,” the release continues. “During the investigation into Arabella’s death, deputies contacted her father, Brian McCormack, near the family’s home. He committed suicide in their presence.” 

Brian and Leticia McCormack began fostering Arabella and her two sisters (ages 6 and 7) in 2017 and adopted them in 2019. NBC 7 reports that the two younger girls were removed from the McCormack home at the time of Arabella’s death, hospitalized for several days, and are currently living with a foster family. 

All three defendants have been charged with torture and willful cruelty to a child. Leticia McCormack and Stanley Tom have also both been charged with murder. The defendants face life in prison if convicted on all charges. They have pled not guilty and will appear in court next on Nov. 16.

According to Rock Church’s website, former NFL player and senior pastor Miles McPherson started Rock Church in 2000, and the church now has five campuses and an attendance of over 18,000. Leticia McCormack was a volunteer and ordained elder at Rock Church. Some outlets have reported that McCormack served in leadership at the Rock School of Ministry, but that her profile has since been removed

Rock Church says it has cut ties with Leticia McCormack and is revoking her ordination. In a statement to ChurchLeaders, the church said:

We have received notice that Leticia and her parents have been arrested as a result of the Sheriff’s Department investigation. We continue to grieve for Arabella and her sisters. We are so sorry that their family and friends are experiencing this unimaginable loss and pain. We send our deepest condolences to all that are grieving at this time. Our hearts go out to each of them.  

The legal process will run its course and we hope justice for Arabella and her sisters will be served. We are praying that God’s love and grace will bring comfort and healing. 

The Rock no longer has any official relationship with Leticia. Her ordination at Rock Church was previously suspended and is in the process of being revoked.

Regard Leticia McCormak’s specific role at Rock Church, the church issued the following statement:

Leticia McCormack began volunteering with the Rock Church in 2013 and has helped in various capacities, including administrative tasks and helping coordinate events and other ministry activities.