In a bizarre ritual, Danielle Harkins told seven teenagers to rid their bodies of demons by cutting their skin to let the evil spirits out and burn the area to keep the bad spirits from reentering.
According to the Miami Herald, Harkins, 35, a literacy teacher at Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center, was booked in jail Tuesday morning on child abuse charges in connection with the bizarre ritual the led to two of the seven children, of whom Harkins taught a few years ago in her job at the center, with serious injuries.
Police arrested Harkins after one of the teens sent a text message about the incident to a friend. The friend told the boy’s parents, who then notified the police. According to the police report, Harkins held a lighter to one teen’s hand, but the wind blew the flame out, which prompted her to douse his hand in perfume before setting it on fire. The boy is now in care with second-degree burns. Another teen was cut on the neck with a broken bottle, where Harkins proceeded to use a flame to heat a small key and used it to cauterize the wound.
While the motive behind Hawkins strange behavior remains unclear, investigators believe Hawkins recent divorce and history of being the victim of sexual and domestic abuse is at the heart of her extreme religious beliefs.
Harkins was suspended from her job at the center without pay from her job at the family center and is currently being held in jail on a $55,000 bond.
Florida Woman in Jail for Burning and Cutting Ritual on Teenagers.