Parents from faith-healing church charged in death of daughter from untreated diabetes

By Scott Kaufman
Friday, August 30, 2013 16:07 EDT
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Wenona and Terry Rossiter, courtesy of the Linn County (Oregon) jail
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On Thursday, authorities in Albany, Oregon arrested the parents of a 12-year-old girl who died because they withheld treatment for her type 1 diabetes. Syble Rossiter, the daughter of Travis and Wenona Rossiter, died at her home from complications related to untreated type 1 diabetes.

If treated, type 1 diabetes reduces the normal life-span by five to eight years; left untreated, it causes heart and kidney damage, increases the risk of stroke, and leads to peripheral neuropathy (which affects sensation) and autonomic neuropathy (which affects digestive, bowel, bladder and heart function). Although the exact cause of her death is unknown, if she only died because of unregulated glucose levels, she would have spent her last hours confused, drenched in sweat and with a heartbeat so rapid as to make it difficult to breathe.

Investigators in Albany spent months deciding whether to charge her parents for her preventable death. “The 12-year-old had a treatable medical condition and the parents did not provide adequate and necessary medical care to that child. And that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of her on February 5 of this year,” said Albany Police Capt. Eric Carter.

The Rossiter family belong to the Church of the First Born, whose website proudly declares: “If any be sick, call for the elders of the church. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord.”

It is unknown to what degree the couple embrace the doctrine of prayer healing, but as of this moment, they are facing first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of their daughter. The Department of Human Services will look after their two surviving children while the couple awaits trial in jail.

The KOIN report can be found here:

[H/T Friendly Atheist]

[Wenona and Terry Rossiter, courtesy of the Linn County (Oregon) jail]

Scott Kaufman
Scott Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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