The big sister of a little girl who was allegedly tortured and murdered by her parents has issued a heartbreaking plea for help as she aims to take over the care of her younger siblings.
Elizabeth Rose Struhs, 8, was found dead at her home in Toowoomba, Queensland, after her parents allegedly stopped giving her vital type 1 diabetes medication.
Mother of eight Kerrie, 46, and father Jason, 50, instead allegedly prayed over the child at their home-based church.
They have now been charged with murder, torture and failing to provide the necessities of life for the youngster.
Elizabeth’s five youngest siblings now face life alone with their parents in jail awaiting trial but eldest sister Jay Struhs has now vowed to take over the shattered family.
Big sister Jayde Struhs of little Elizabeth Struhs (pictured together) – allegedly tortured and murdered by her anti-vaxxer parents – has made a heartbreaking plea for help
‘The news has left us completely shattered and heartbroken,’ Jay revealed. ‘No other family should have to hear or experience what we have had to endure.’
Elizabeth’s parents allegedly stopped giving the child her life-saving diabetes medication on January 2 in the belief that God cured illness, not doctors or hospitals.
The youngster is believed to have died on January 7 – but the alarm was only raised the following day when a member of their small prayer group called paramedics.
‘We sadly discovered the death of Elizabeth in the cruellest of ways,’ said Jay.
‘With so many unanswered questions, we have faced the brutal reality that we may never know the full extent of what took place.’
Her parents did not trust conventional medicine and allegedly used faith to cure her in the belief that it was ‘worms’ and that God had ‘100 percent promised healing’.
Big sister Jay paid tribute to the lifelong struggle Elizabeth had faced before ‘she was taken too soon’.
‘The loss of our sister is unbearable. Her brave spirit in the face of medical adversity was inspiring. She was a bright light on all that met her.
Eldest sister Jay Struhs (pictured) has vowed to take charge of the shattered family
‘Elizabeth was one of eight children, two now of adult age, including myself and five remaining siblings under 18 ranging from 3 to 16.
‘They have had their entire worlds turned upside down.’
Jay has now set up a Gofundme page to raise a nest egg to bring up the youngest children once she is given guardianship.
‘As a family united in grief, we have vowed to put their needs ahead of everything else as we help rebuild the lives they have always deserved,’ she said.
Elizabeth Rose Struhs, 8, was found dead at her home in Toowoomba, Queensland, (pictured) after her parents allegedly stopped giving her vital type 1 diabetes medication
‘We are doing everything in our power to welcome them into a stable and loving environment surrounded by the family that have been previously kept from them.’
She added: ‘Our number one priority is the children.
‘I will dedicate all money raised to providing the ongoing care for my five youngest family members to ensure they remain in a safe, secure and loving home.
‘The responsibility of their future is something we have always fought to protect, and we will continue to do that for the rest of their lives.’
Elizabeth’s mother once ran her own business selling at market stalls around Gatton in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley and Upper Coomera, in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Mother of eight Kerrie, 46, and father Jason, 50, (pictured) allegedly prayed over the child in bizarre religious rituals at their home-based church cult
Jason Struhs, a keen sportsman, had previously worked night shifts in Toowoomba, with his wife being principal carer for their children.
It is alleged the couple held a bizarre ‘prayer ritual’ at their home with fellow worshippers, playing music and saying prayers out loud, instead of immediately calling paramedics for their sick daughter.
It will be alleged that the parents called a group of religious friends from two other families to come over to pray to God for their child.
Officers were called to the couple’s rental home in Rangeville, about 5.30pm on Saturday, with a neighbour witnessing a paramedic running from the home ‘in tears’ after finding the girl’s body.
Jay Struhs (pictured) has set up a Gofundme page and vowed to spend any money raised on her young siblings once she is given guardianship of the youngsters
The neighbour said he had seen a crowd gathered outside the home earlier that day Saturday and that he had heard loud voices and music.
The parents appeared in Toowoomba Magistrates Court looking ’emotionless’ last Wednesday via video link from the Toowoomba watch house, where they had been in custody since their arrest.
Urged by Magistrate Kay Philipson to seek Legal Aid for the ‘very serious matters’, Mr Struhs twice declined to do so, and refused to apply for bail.
The case will return to court on March 24.