Breaking News
More () »

Adoptive family members held with no bail in death of 11-year-old girl

Judge lifted tiling order for all three defendants charged with torture in death of Aarabella McCormack.

EL CAJON, Calif. — Three adoptive family members charged in the death of Aarabella McCormack, age 11, will remain in custody pending a bail review set for November 29.

The girl’s adoptive mother Leticia McCormack, 49, and her parents Stanley Tom, 75, and Adella Tom, 70, appeared in person in El Cajon court Wednesday morning.

Judge Kathleen Lewis lifted a previous order requiring that the defendants’ faces be tiled by the news media.

CBS 8 and other news outlets had objected to the tiling order issued last week by Judge Harry Elias.  Elias said he was ordering the defendants’ faces obscured for their own safety while in custody.

But Judge Lewis said, “all three currently are in protective custody, so they’re not in with the general population.”

“I don’t think there’s a right to have the faces tiled that overcomes any First Amendment right of the media,” Judge Lewis said in court.

Credit: CBS 8
Leticia McCormack, Adella Tom, & Stanley Tom appear Wednesday in El Cajon court

The adoptive family members are charged with torture and felony child abuse in the death of Aarabella on August 30, as well as torture and felony child abuse of her two younger siblings.  Additionally, Leticia McCormack and Stanley Tom were charged with murder.  All three defendants face life in prison if convicted on all counts.

San Diego County Child Welfare Services investigated McCormack’s death and determined Aarabella died of abuse and neglect.

On the same day McCormack died in the hospital, the adoptive father, Brian McCormack, 46, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head outside the family’s home on Lakeview Drive in Spring Valley.  Brian McCormack worked as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

The girl’s biological mother, Torriana Florey, had her three daughters removed from her custody and placed in foster care with the McCormack family in 2017. The McCormack's adopted all three girls in 2019.

The other two siblings, ages 6 and 7, were briefly hospitalized and then placed in the care of a different foster family.

All three defendants are being held with no bail pending the bail review hearing.

WATCH: Biological mother of Aarabella McCormack speaks on Facebook following a vigil at the home where the 11-year-old died:

Posted by Torriana Florey on Sunday, November 13, 2022

WATCH: Adoptive mother, grandparents plead not guilty in Spring Valley girl's death 

Before You Leave, Check This Out