WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) A pastor says a Wichita woman asked for an exorcism weeks before she was arrested for murder.
Rachael Hilyard is accused of decapitating Micki Davis at Hilyard's south Wichita home in April. Summit Church Pastor Terry Fox says he met with Hilyard at the home days earlier to assess her for demons. Fox says there were signs she was depressed, but no indication she was a danger to herself or anyone around her.
"I've been doing this type of ministry for 30 years and this one really caught me off guard," said Fox.
Fox says his "paranormal team" offers exorcisms in certain circumstances. He says he and his team prayed with Hilyard at her home days before she was arrested, but did not perform an exorcism. He says they were still in the process of figuring out how to help Hilyard when she was arrested.
"I will say in her case, that in the home there were some things that made us thing she was very depressed. As far as seeing her as being aggressive toward herself or toward anyone else, we did not see that at all," said Fox.
Fox says deciding whether to perform an exorcism is a lengthy process, and involves asking the person a series of questions including if they've ever attempted to contact the dead, and if they're aware of anyone placing a curse on their family.
Fox says the team wants to figure out if the person suffers from a mental health issue, or what he calls "demonic activity." Fox says it can be a combination of both.
"No situation has been exactly the same. It takes a lot of assessing and praying to figure out what's going on in this person's life and how can Summit Paranormal Team help."
Fox says he has hundreds of requests for exorcisms every year. He estimates he's performed about 100 over the past 30 years.
Hilyard's friend, Rafael Gutierrez, said she told him about wanting an exorcism months ago.
"She had brought up the exorcism, but it seemed like she was half there and half not, so I didn't know what part to take serious or not, but I believed her at the time, but not as much as I do now after hearing all of what happened," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is a Christian and believes that's why Hilyard would share her thoughts with him.
"She believed that there was demons pretty much in her house," said Gutierrez. "She had taken some photographs and sent them to me on Facebook that I seen and did think it looked like evil spirits... and now do believe that they were evil spirits."
Gutierrez said Hilyard was scared of demons, asking him to move in with her. He lived in California at the time.
"I believe she was under the influence of drugs that come along with demonic spirits," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez said he didn't take the time to help then, and he wishes he could change that.
"She's gotta be in a very dark place that only God could reach in and help out and just really hope to salvage just whatever is left of her life and just to know that God is there for her," said Gutierrez.