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View Full Version : Wis. parents who prayed as diabetic daughter died charged


kittyking
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:04 AM
WESTON, Wis. - Two parents who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes were charged Monday with second-degree reckless homicide.

Family and friends had urged Dale and Leilani Neumann to get help for their daughter, but the father considered the illness "a test of faith" and the mother never considered taking the girl to the doctor because she thought her daughter was under a "spiritual attack," the criminal complaint said.

"It is very surprising, shocking that she wasn't allowed medical intervention," Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad said. "Her death could have been prevented."

Madeline Neumann died March 23 — Easter Sunday — at her family's rural Weston home. Her parents were told the body would be taken to Madison for an autopsy the next day.

"They responded, 'You won't need to do that. She will be alive by then,'" the medical examiner wrote in a report.

An autopsy determined that Madeline died from undiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis, which left her with too little insulin in her body. Court records said she likely had some symptoms of the disease for months.

The Neumanns each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The couple and their attorney did not immediately return messages left Monday by The Associated Press.

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.

Randall Wormgoor, a friend of the Neumanns, told police that Dale Neumann led Bible studies at his business, Monkey Mo Coffee Shop, and believed physical illness was due to sin, curable by prayer and by asking for forgiveness from God, the complaint said.

Wormgoor said he and his wife, Althea, were at the Neumann home when Madeline — — called Kara by her parents — died. Wormgoor said he had urged the father to seek medical help and was told the illness "was a test of faith for the Neumann family and asked the Wormgoors to join them in praying for Kara to get well," the complaint said.

Althea Wormgoor said she "implored" the parents to seek medical help for the girl, the complaint said.

Leilani Neumann, 40, told the AP previously 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, 46, 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.

According to court documents, Leilani Neumann said in a written statement to police that she never considered taking the girl, who was being home-schooled, to a doctor.

"We just thought it was a spiritual attack and we prayed for her. My husband Dale was crying and mentioned taking Kara to the doctor and I said, 'The Lord's going to heal her,' and we continued to pray," she wrote.

The father told investigators he noticed his daughter was weak and slower for about two weeks but he attributed it to symptoms of the girl reaching puberty, the complaint said.

A day before Madeline died, according to the criminal complaint, the father wrote an e-mail with the headline, "Help our daughter needs emergency prayer!!!!." It said his daughter was "very weak and pale at the moment with hardly any strength."

The girl's grandmother, Evalani Gordon, told police that she learned her granddaughter could not walk or talk on March 22 and advised Leilani Neumann to take the girl to a doctor.

Gordon 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 shortly before some friends in the home called 911 to report the girl had stopped breathing, authorities said.

One relative told police that the girl's mother believed she "died because the devil is trying to stop Leilani from starting her own ministry," the complaint said.

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

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

Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said the parents once belonged to the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church but later became what he called religious "isolationists" involved in a prayer group of five people.

"They have gone out on their own," he said. "... They have a very narrow view of Scripture and I would say not many people hold to that narrow of view."

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.

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There was some talk early on that the parents may not be charged, I am incredibly relieved that justice has prevailed here! They knew she would die :sad:

Scotso
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:14 AM
While the parents are seriously delusional, I fail to see what putting them in prison for 25 years will accomplish. They need psychological help, not jail.

skanky~skanketta
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:14 AM
Go figure.

The poor child. Completely unnecessary death and entirely preventable.

skanky~skanketta
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:16 AM
While the parents are seriously delusional, I fail to see what putting them in prison for 25 years will accomplish. They need psychological help, not jail.
True, but the father had wanted to take her to the hospital.

I have mixed feelings. If they had been anti-medicine or belonged to an organized religion I would probably have been furious, but they weren't. Just ignorant.

ZeroSOFInfinity
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:52 AM
Religion vs Science.

Sometimes, its better to have a mixture of both rather than just rely on either one...

Yeah, it's a test of faith... but then, did God ask you to let your child suffer and die like that? :tape:

Ntour
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:54 AM
I mean its fine to be christian and believe in god and all that

but when people take it this far its just not right

ce
Apr 29th, 2008, 08:56 AM
:o

:spit:

Philbo
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:01 AM
I think the parents deserve to be punished just so that it acts as a detterrant to other people of faith who are basically responsible for the deaths of their children. God does provide healing - through doctors lol!

saint2
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Sad story, but again, can't see the crime here. There are a sects wich completly disallow their members to using a medicine. Can You imagine how many people died in that sects? So now all members of that sects should be put in prison? What with freedom of relligion?

kittyking
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:56 AM
I mean its fine to be christian and believe in god and all that
but when people take it this far its just not right

That's part of the problem

If they were extremely religious and did it based on that then they need to be in a mental hospital. But they have never been religious - infact they are simply dumb!

homogenius
Apr 29th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Sad story, but again, can't see the crime here. There are a sects wich completly disallow their members to using a medicine. Can You imagine how many people died in that sects? So now all members of that sects should be put in prison? What with freedom of relligion?

The child had no choice...

The Crow
Apr 29th, 2008, 10:04 AM
Sad story, but again, can't see the crime here. There are a sects wich completly disallow their members to using a medicine. Can You imagine how many people died in that sects? So now all members of that sects should be put in prison? What with freedom of relligion?

The crime is that the girl was underaged and that the parents are responsible.

Freedom of religion is one thing, and if people do not want medical help for themselves that is fine by me (even if I think they are stupid and delusional ;)) but when children are involved it is a totally different matter. These people should be sentenced imo because they committed a horrible crime. They let their child die when they were fully aware that she could be saved with the right treatment. If that is not a crime I don't know what is?

Kart
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:00 AM
Were these parents in a rural third world country I'd be inclined to understand their mistaken interpretation of their child being critically ill as being a spiritual attack.

However they were not in a rural third world country and neglect is still catagorised under child abuse the last time I checked.

They not only neglected their daughter's illness for days but also ignored other people suggesting they seek medical help.

They are going to prison for a long time I suspect.

angele87
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:08 AM
The crime is that the girl was underaged and that the parents are responsible.

Freedom of religion is one thing, and if people do not want medical help for themselves that is fine by me (even if I think they are stupid and delusional ;)) but when children are involved it is a totally different matter. These people should be sentenced imo because they committed a horrible crime. They let their child die when they were fully aware that she could be saved with the right treatment. If that is not a crime I don't know what is?
I agree 100%.

When this story first came to light, upon seeing the headline I actually thought this was going to be a case of trying to bash religion. My gut feeling was that this was going to be a case of a child with some kind of terminal cancer whose parents chose to stop treatment because she wasn't responding. Then when I read the story and found out the girl was actually a diabetic, I was horrified.

Direwolf
Apr 29th, 2008, 01:06 PM
didnt they even fed her a glass of milk
with a spoon of sugar??

the relatives knew what was happening ang they
didnt do anything to help her..
when they knew that the parents werent gonna do anything bout it

Ellery
Apr 29th, 2008, 01:32 PM
:weirdo:

kwilliams
Apr 29th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Sad story, but again, can't see the crime here. There are a sects wich completly disallow their members to using a medicine. Can You imagine how many people died in that sects? So now all members of that sects should be put in prison? What with freedom of relligion?


Second degree reckless homicide, reckless endangerment, neglect. Take your pick.

That poor girl was in desperate need of medical care and her life was just wasted. Children are not property and should not be treated as such they have human rights as all people do and one of those rights is medical care.

Reading that article the parents just seemed to get crazier and crazier. They thought the devil was trying to prevent the opening of a ministry!!! That's not just crazy that's egomaniacal. I assume then it was obvious to others that the parents were crazy. I really wish someone had intervened sooner.

And their poor children. I hope their grandmother/extended family can help them through this difficult time. I can only imagine what it must've been like to see their parents make such a disastrous series of mistakes. It's a shame they didn't intervene either.

Shuji Shuriken
Apr 29th, 2008, 02:33 PM
I have no sympathy for the parents of that poor girl. If they really and truly cared about her, they would have taken her to the hospital and have her diagnosed and treated :sobbing:. Senseless death :(. Throw them in jail I say.

The Crow
Apr 29th, 2008, 02:41 PM
That's not just crazy that's egomaniacal.

Indeed!

Beat
Apr 29th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Sad story, but again, can't see the crime here.

you seriously can't? wow ... :tape:

samsung101
Apr 29th, 2008, 08:46 PM
Sect? Cult?

Could it be these two parents wrongly decided to forego any more medical
attention, and imposed their will and faith on the daughter, over the
objections of family and teachers, etc.? Yes, that's what they did.

They had previously taken the girl to a doctor, to a certain age.

She had shots as a smaller child.

The father was a former cop or something, so he had received medical
care in his life. As had the mother.


Grandmother and others wanted the kid to be checked out, and that's
when the local child services got involved.


Diabetes is treatable, with diet and medication. Prayer doesn't hurt.

Unless, they can show she was on her last breath anyway, terminally ill,
little to zero hope she'd survive, they are in a lot of serious trouble
with the law. They should be punished.

They should be charged with something serious. Life in prison? No.
Negligence and intentional neglect I suppose, child abuse.

They were wrong.
It's not really about religious freedom.
The parents had that.
But, the child had a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
too..and they took that away from her.

Parents who have lost sight of what it is they received in life, like
medical care, and want to instead give their child what they wished would
work - only prayer, without some common sense.

Who is to say, as most Christians and Jews and Muslims and Mormons would adhere
to, that a higher power didn't help create many of the medical breakthroughs
and treatments that assist us on a daily basis.


Fact is that most Christians, most people of any faith, do take their kids,
and themselves, to the doctor regularly. These two were an odd duo, and
made a horrendous decision.

Scotso
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:48 PM
I have no sympathy for the parents of that poor girl. If they really and truly cared about her, they would have taken her to the hospital and have her diagnosed and treated :sobbing:. Senseless death :(. Throw them in jail I say.

I don't think it's your place to say whether or not they cared about her. They made a poor decision, but there was no malicious intent. They shouldn't be charged.

Children are the parents responsibility. I don't agree with what they did, but I can understand it. They didn't want their daughter to die... they were doing what they thought was right.

It seems everyone on this board thinks they know how everyone else should live their lives.

The Crow
Apr 30th, 2008, 06:59 AM
So if I would push my child under a car because I believe he would be resurrected and be the new Jesus, that would be allright to you? If it really is what I believe in? Because that's basically what they have done...

drake3781
Apr 30th, 2008, 07:11 AM
I don't think it's your place to say whether or not they cared about her. They made a poor decision, but there was no malicious intent. They shouldn't be charged.

Children are the parents responsibility. I don't agree with what they did, but I can understand it. They didn't want their daughter to die... they were doing what they thought was right.

It seems everyone on this board thinks they know how everyone else should live their lives.

Clarification: you believe that it is legal for a parent to allow a child to die by withholding medical treatment. Is that correct?

Crazy Canuck
Apr 30th, 2008, 10:04 AM
While the parents are seriously delusional, I fail to see what putting them in prison for 25 years will accomplish. They need psychological help, not jail.

Unfortunately, therapy is not a cure for those with serious cases of the stupids.

tterb
Apr 30th, 2008, 01:25 PM
I don't think it's your place to say whether or not they cared about her. They made a poor decision, but there was no malicious intent. They shouldn't be charged.

Children are the parents responsibility. I don't agree with what they did, but I can understand it. They didn't want their daughter to die... they were doing what they thought was right.

It seems everyone on this board thinks they know how everyone else should live their lives.
I don't see why you think good intentions are some sort of mitigating factor. Someone driving recklessly also makes a poor decision, and may kill someone even though the intent was only to get home in time for a daughter's piano recital. Understandable, but a crime was still committed.

And yes, actually, when it comes to TAKING YOUR DEATHLY ILL CHILD TO GET MEDICAL TREATMENT, I'm afraid I do know better than these two. If they want to pray, go for it, but letting your daughter die because of twisted religious beliefs isn't just another lifestyle choice. It's willfully ignorant.

BigB08822
Apr 30th, 2008, 01:58 PM
I don't see how anyone can think this is ok. Someone already gave an example but I think of it this way. If I took a child and threw them off a bridge and they died, should I be allowed to state that my defense is that I thought God would save them, that God would provide a miracle? That is ridiculous on so many levels but I don't want to offend any Christians.

Shuji Shuriken
Apr 30th, 2008, 02:28 PM
No words...

kwilliams
Apr 30th, 2008, 03:09 PM
I don't see why you think good intentions are some sort of mitigating factor. Someone driving recklessly also makes a poor decision, and may kill someone even though the intent was only to get home in time for a daughter's piano recital. Understandable, but a crime was still committed.

And yes, actually, when it comes to TAKING YOUR DEATHLY ILL CHILD TO GET MEDICAL TREATMENT, I'm afraid I do know better than these two. If they want to pray, go for it, but letting your daughter die because of twisted religious beliefs isn't just another lifestyle choice. It's willfully ignorant.

Damn right!

If this feeble defence of the parents wasn't a religious one then no one anywhere would defend them and we could all agree they were/are crazy. Religious beliefs, fanatical or not, should not protect people from the law.

The ironic thing is that they have committed one of the most heinous of sins. I hope they can see the grave mistake they made and recognise that they need to change.

Whitehead's Boy
Apr 30th, 2008, 04:32 PM
The ironic thing is that they have committed one of the most heinous of sins.

How? Jesus promised to give whatever you ask in His name. If they prayed for their diabetic daughter, why didn't Jesus do anything?

They should charge Jesus!