Four Year Old Brutally Murdered In Cole Camp

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
While many families are planning for Christmas, one Benton County father will be burying his four-year-old daughter and waiting for word about his hospitalized wife and two-year-old son.
A four-year-old girl died Sunday morning at a residence between Cole Camp and Lincoln.  Benton County Sgt. Chris Wilson responded to a call near Buckskin Lane around 12:40 AM Sunday.
“Investigators found a deceased 4-year-old girl up in her bedroom. She was beaten from head to toe,” said Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox.
According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, James Mast, the 28-year-old father, told authorities his daughter “had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank before being taken back into the residence.”
Two others were also beaten and severely injured, including Mary Mast, 28, the mother of the child who died and the child’s two-year-old brother. Both are being cared for in an area hospital.
Authorities arrested two in the investigation, including Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, of a neighboring residence. 
“It’s an ongoing investigation and there may be more charges pending for more people by the time we finish our investigation,” said Knox.
Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen have been charged with murder in the second degree, felony assault in the first degree and sexual abuse in teh first degree.  They are presently being held in the Benton County Jail in Warsaw.
According to the Probable Cause Narrative filed with the Circuit Court of Benton County Deputy Chris Wilson responded to a possible domestic disturbance on Buckskin Lane.  Upon arrival Wilson found a 4-year-old female lifeless, her eyes partially open and her skin cold to the touch wrapped in a pink blanket.  Wilson observed severe purple bruising from the child’s neck to her feet on her front and back sides.  He also observed open wounds to her legs that appeared to be from blisters rupturing.  The victim’s hair was wet with a ponytail band in it.  There appeared to be vomit next to the victim’s head.  He also observed much of the bruising on the victim’s body had what appeared to be signature belt marks all over.
The Benton County Deputy spoke to the father and asked where his wife was.  The father stated that his wife was in a bedroom down the hall with their infant son and his two year old son was in an adjacent bedroom.  Wilson responded down the hall and observed the whole left side of the woman’s face was severely bruised and she had a black eye.  He observed the wife’s injuries did not appear to be recent, possibly a couple of days old.  He checked the infant and found that he had no injuries.  The deputy then went to the bedroom where the two-year-old boy was and found him lying in a crib face down.  He observed the boy was breathing and had severe purple bruising to his legs and also had what appeared to be ruptured purple blisters on the backs of his legs.
The deputy questioned James Mast and was told that the people across the road caused the injuries to the family.  They had come over to his home at 8 AM in the morning and they beat the two-year-old.  He said that he and his wife were forced to comply with the beatings.  He stated the beating had been happening for approximately two weeks and the suspects were Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen.  He also state that he had been beaten with a wooden spoon and showed the deputy bruising on his buttocks.
James Mast said he was beaten because he had shown compassion for his wife and children.  When asked how he could let people do this to his family, he stated that he was told his wife had a “demon” inside her and her children would end up just like her if it was not taken care of.  He said that Aumen and Ethan Mast threatened him and told him and his wife that if they told anyone or did not comply with the beatings, they would get the same beatings, or even be shot.  James Mast said that Aumen was the person making the majority of the threats.  James Mast stated that his wife and he were told not to provide aid or comfort to the chldren or themselves as it would be a sin and Satan would come.
The four-year-old girl was taken to a pond with her mother by Ethan Mast and Aumen.  They forced the mother to swim one lap around the pond, and then she was forced to bring the four-year-old into the water and dunk her under the water.
During interviews at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Aumen said that the beatings were done at the request of the mother.  
Also during the interview, Ethan Mast stated the Kourtney Aumen had previously lived with the James Mast family and that she had to move out around the first of November 2020. According to Ethan Mast, the parents of the children, watched as they beat the four-year-old and that she ran around the table trying to get her parents to help her.  Ethan Mast stated that he beat the mother about the body with his fist and a belt.  He stated that he beat the mother and children to assist Aumen to remove the demons or evil from the mother and the children.  
Also during the interview Ethan Mast stated that he had sexually abused one of the victims with a sexual instrument because Aumen said she had allegedly been sexually assaulted during the time she lived with the Mast family. 
Sometime after Ethan Mast and Aumen left the house, James Mast called for help. 
“To see a child in any kind of distress is terrible for first responders. In something to this magnitude, with a severe beating the child went through and the trauma she went through, it is very traumatic for everyone involved,” said Knox.  “This is the most horrific case I have ever seen in my career.  I am glad my deputies were able to act in a professional manner.”
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident.  Ethan Mast and Aumen will appear in court after the first of the year.