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Young Parents Face Murder Charges After Infant Doesn’t Respond To "Faith Healing"

A young married couple in Oregon has been arrested on murder charges after their interpretation of caring for their ill infant led to the child’s death. Sarah Mitchell, 24, and Travis Mitchell, 21, believed that ‘faith healing’ would cure their daughter’s woes, despite the fact that she was clearly in need of medical attention. As the New York Post shares, the child died on the same day she was born.

The parents are members of the Followers of Christ Church, and they were expecting twins. The church promotes faith healing, and the couple has obviously bought into the concept. Rather than giving birth to the children in a hospital that was chock full of convenient things such as doctors, nurses, medical equipment and supplies, the parents thought it would be perfectly fine to bring the child into the world at a relative’s home in Oregon City.

The parents weren’t alone for the big day, as it sounds like a capacity crowd turned out for the event. Also at the home were three midwives, relatives and other church members. It sounds like one of the children was born just fine, but the second child experienced breathing difficulties soon after birth. Rather than dialing 911, the parents allegedly relied on prayer and oils to make everything better.

It didn’t, and the child died. A church elder named Carl Hansen would step up to the plate at that point to contact the county medical examiner, and first responders were soon en route to provide medical attention for the surviving infant. No word on why Hansen didn’t feel compelled to pick up the phone when the child was having trouble breathing.

Police would arrive and convince the parents to seek some professional help. They have been charged with murder and criminal mistreatment of their daughters, and they are scheduled to appear in court soon. No word on whether they will be relying on prayer and oils for defense purposes.

There’s a lot to unpack here. For starters, giving birth at home is a personal choice that may not pass muster with everyone. Those that choose to do so should be prepared to call for help immediately if there are any signs of trouble, as every second counts when it comes to an infant.

Next, it’s incredibly unclear why the church elder would feel the need to call for help only after the child had died. If the church is so based on faith, why call at all? Everything should be magically ok, and there should have been no need to pick up the phone at all, right? That obviously wasn’t the case, and it’s interesting that there seems to be some selectivity as to when you should rely on faith and when you should snap out of that.

All that being said, the responsibility falls on the parents, and they will now face the consequences of their actions. As an amazing aside, the mother’s sister was convicted for the death of her son back in 2009.

Source: New York Post
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

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