SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) -- A woman in Northern California was taken into custody Sunday after being accused of beating, biking and choking her 11-year-old daughter in an attempt to perform an exorcism on the child, according to police.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said Kimberly Felder, 45, stripped her daughter naked and shoved sand into her mouth and eyes before a witness tried to stop the attack at a beach in Ferndale, a town 115 miles north of San Francisco. This alleged incident happened Friday.
CBS affiliate WTTV-TV reports a group of 10 to 12 people watched the incident unfold.
Witness John Marciel said Felder told him she was trying to remove demons from her daughter and continued to hit the girl's head with a piece of driftwood.
"She questioned me about my faith," Marciel told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Marciel said he stayed on the phone with 911 dispatchers as he tried to wrestle Felder to the ground.
Deputies who arrived on the scene placed Felder in handcuffs, separating her from her daughter.
Felder was arrested for investigation of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and aggravated mayhem.
Authorities said if Marciel hadn't intervened, it was very likely the girl would have been killed by her mother.
Marciel said he was glad he got there to stop the incident.
"The worst thing was when we got the child away and into the sheriff's truck, she said people drove by and nobody stopped," Marciel said.
"When you see something like this, it shakes your foundation and faith in people," he said.
Investigators planned to forward the case to prosecutors Monday.