California woman accused of kidnapping grandmother for exorcism attempt

Court documents are shedding light on a bizarre incident that led to a California woman's arrest in Arizona, as she was heading to Texas.

According to the documents, Melissa Nicole Welsh is accused of kidnapping, vulnerable adult abuse, credit card theft, and unlawful use of means of transportation.

Welsh, authorities say, was arrested on Oct. 20 along a section of the I-10 near Wild Horse Pass, after a DPS trooper responded to an attempt to locate call.

"The reporting party had stated that Melissa Welsh had kidnapped her grandmother and was enroute to Texas to force an exorcism on her," read a portion of the court documents.

Troopers, according to court documents, were able to track down Welsh due to pings between a cell phone and a cell phone service provider. A high-risk stop was later initiated on the I-10.

In an interview that took place at the scene, the victim said Welsh forced her to leave their home in Orange, Calif. and drive to Texas, and accused Welsh of using her credit card and car unlawfully. Welsh was arrested at around 9:42 p.m.

In a subsequent interview, Welsh, according to investigators, claims her grandmother was possessed by demons, and she needed to have an exorcism performed by a Catholic church in Texas. Welsh also said she believed it was OK to force her grandmother to go because she needed to get her help.

Welsh, according to court documents, lived with her grandmother, but her grandmother is about to get a restraining order and evict her from the home.

On Oct. 21, a judge set a $200,000 bond for Welsh. Should she make bond, Welsh will be subjected to electronic monitoring and be confined to her home for parts of the day.

Family members respond

Doug Welsh is Welsh's uncle. He received news of the alleged kidnapping via a phone call.

"Next door neighbors said Melissa was taking my mom against her will," said Doug.

Neighbors say they overheard Welsh talking about going out to Texas, while her grandmother protested.

"She was panicking, saying 'I don’t want to go to Texas. Don’t take me to Texas,'" said Doug.

Doug says when he heard this, he immediately called and texted his niece, trying to figure out what was going on. When Welsh told Doug the reason why they were headed out there, Doug was even more baffled.

"Taking her to Texas to get her undemonized. She said my mom has demons in her," said Doug. "Then I went holy [expletive]. My mom is a devout Catholic. That ain’t where she wants to go."

Doug said he was the person who called police, which eventually led to Welsh's arrest. Doug said he fully intends on pressing charges against his niece.