18 Jun 2008

Teen from faith-healing family dies at home

Statesman Journal - June 18, 2008
Associated Press

GLADSTONE, Ore. — A 16-year-old boy whose parents rely on prayer instead of medical care has died following an illness marked by stomach pains and shortness of breath, the authorities said.

Officers and a deputy medical examiner were called to the family’s house about an hour after the boy’s death late Tuesday afternoon, said Sgt. Lynne Benton of the Gladstone Police Department.

Benton said the boy was surrounded by family when he died and a board member of the Followers of Christ church contacted the authorities.

The boy got sick about a week ago and — like all members of the religious order — did not receive medical attention. His condition worsened Sunday and members of the church gathered for prayer, Benton said.

An autopsy is planned.

In March, the boy’s 15-month-old cousin, Ava Worthington, died at home from bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection. Her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, also failed to contact a doctor and are awaiting trial on criminal charges in her death.

No arrests have been made in the latest case, but the information will be forwarded to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office for review, Benton said.

Oregon lawmakers passed new laws striking down legal shields for faith-healing parents after several children from the Followers of Christ church died in the 1990s.

The Oregon City church is not associated with a mainstream denomination.

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