I Wish I Were In Paris

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Update: Girl Dies From Diabetes Complications While Parents Pray

I blogged about this story a little while back. Today, there is an update.

D.A.: Parents pray as girl, 11, dies of diabetes

WESTON, Wisconsin (AP) -- A couple who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes will be charged with second-degree reckless homicide, a prosecutor said Monday.

"It is very surprising, shocking that she wasn't allowed medical intervention," Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad said.

Madeline Neumann, daughter of Dale and Leilani Neumann, died March 23 at the family's rural Weston home. An autopsy determined she died from undiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body.

The Neumanns each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Charges were being filed later Monday, Falstad said.

Falstad said the Neumanns have cooperated with investigators and are not under arrest. They have agreed to make an initial court appearance Wednesday, she said.

The couple and their lawyer did not immediately return messages.

Leilani Neumann, 40, previously said she never expected her daughter to die. The family believes in the Bible, which says healing comes from God, but they have nothing against doctors, she said.

Dale Neumann, a former police officer, has said he has friends who are doctors and started CPR "as soon as the breath of life left" his daughter's body.

Madeline, who was being home-schooled, was in good health until she started getting tired about two weeks before she died, her mother has said. When the situation got worse over Easter weekend, "we stayed fast in prayer then," Leilani Neumann said. "We believed that she would recover."

According to a search warrant request, the girl's grandmother told investigators she had been ill for several days, was "very tired," and wanted to be held by her mother. By March 22, Madeline couldn't walk or talk, her grandmother said.

The grandmother said she told Leilani Neumann to take the girl to the doctor but the mother said her daughter "would be fine and God would heal her," the court record said.

The grandmother eventually contacted a daughter-in-law in California, who called police on a non-emergency line to report the girl was in a coma and needed medical help. An ambulance was dispatched to the home shortly before some friends in the home called 911 to report the girl had stopped breathing, authorities said.

The Neumanns said they moved to Weston, a suburb of Wausau in central Wisconsin, from California about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives. The couple has three other children, ages 13 to 16.

The family does not belong to an organized religion or faith, Leilani Neumann has said.

In March, an Oregon couple who belong to a church that preaches against medical care and believes in treating illness with prayer were charged with manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their 15-month-old daughter.

The toddler died March 2 of bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection that could have been treated with antibiotics, the state medical examiner's office said.

You're damn right these people should be charged, and I couldn't be happier!! They knowingly and willingly allowed their daughter to die from a treatable disease because they thought "GOD" would heal her. I can see it now!! INSANITY DEFENSE!!

Other than the fact that I think the charges aren't harsh enough, I do have a few problems with the situation. They have been or will be charged with a crime. Therefore, they should be under arrest instead of roaming free. And where in the hell does this "they agreed to make an initial court appearance" shit come from? I don't know how the LAW works in Weston, Wisconsin. But where I come from, if you're charged with a crime you're placed under arrest and you have a court appearance. You don't get to decide if and when you're going to make an appearance in court.

If they are convicted, I hope they get the maximum penalty. They can rot for the next 25 years in a prison cell, and think about what they did to their daughter.

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  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Shawn Francis Peters said…

    The legal issues in this case, and the similar one that is transpiring in Oregon, are complex, to say the least. If you're interested, I'm writing about them on my "Religious Convictions" blog, and they're also covered in my book (from Oxford) WHEN PRAYER FAILS: FAITH HEALING, CHILDREN, AND THE LAW.


  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    With all due respect to anyone of faith, you DO NOT have the right to withhold medical treatment from someone simply because you believe that GOD is going to heal that person.

    You DO NOT have the right to hide behind some ridiculous clause in a law that shouldn't be there in the first place in order to avoid prosecution for essentially murdering your child. I hope their attempt fails!!

    There is no reason that will ever be good enough to explain away why that child is dead.

    I have been saying that I hope they rot for the next 25 years so that they can think about what they did to their daughter. But now that I think about it, I honestly don't think they will think about it.

    All we've heard is excuse after excuse. We have yet to hear a "We're sorry that we allowed our daughter to die out of religious stupidity." I don't expect to ever hear them say that.

    I realize that it's the job of an attorney to defend their clients. However, to try and avoid prosecution by using this loophole is ridiculous. They deserve to have the book thrown at them. There is no punishment harsh enough for them because no matter what it is, it will not change the fact that they let a child die when she didn't have to.


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