A pastor and two of his followers have been arrested on charges of torturing a boy in Corona in order to discipline him, with allegations including assaulting the boy with pliers and forcing him to dig his own grave.
Lonnie Remmers, 54, pastor of the Heart of Worship Church, has been charged with kidnapping, torture, child abuse and conspiracy, according to the Imperial Valley Press. Police say he and his two helpers, 22-year-old Nick Craig and 28-year-old Darryll Jeter, were entrusted with disciplining a 13-year-old boy by the boy’s own mother, who had taken him to a men’s group home in this Riverside County town seeking help.
The group home turned out to be run by Heart of Worship -- and police say the boy was taken first to Barstow, where Craig and Jeter allegedly beat him with a shovel and had him dig the grave.
“Under the direction of Lonnie Remmers, both Nick and Darryll were instructed to ‘scare’ the 13-year-old,” Corona police stated in a press release. “The suspects forced the 13-year-old victim to dig a grave and then threatened to kill him.”
Later the boy was taken to Remmers’ house for “Bible study,” police said, which is where the pliers incident allegedly occurred.
All three suspects are being held on $1 million bail each. The boy and his 7-year-old sister have been taken in protective services, police said.