7-year-old died after parents treated pancreatitis with prayers instead of calling doctor: prosecutors
Hands praying (Shutterstock).

Two parents in Minnesota are facing child neglect charges after they refused to take their sick 7-year-old son to a doctor and instead tried to diagnose and treat him themselves.


Local news station WCCO 4 reports that Timothy and Sarah Johnson, of Plymouth, Minn., have been charged with one count of child neglect that resulted in "substantial bodily harm" to their adopted son Seth, who passed away last March.

According to a criminal complaint filed this week, the couple didn't seek professional medical attention for Seth when he came down with pancreatitis last year because they had "issues going to doctors," whom they believed would prescribe the child harmful medications.

Instead, they decided to do their own research and eventually decided that Seth's symptoms indicated that he had a combination of "post-traumatic stress disorder, a brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome."

In late March last year, the couple left town for the weekend and left Seth under the care of one of his older siblings. When they returned, they found that his condition had worsened, and he was barely able to move at all.

Despite this, they decided to pray for his health instead of calling a doctor. When he was notably unresponsive to their prayers, they still decided to wait until morning to decide whether they should seek medical attention for him.

The next morning, they found that he was unresponsive and finally decided to call 911. Medical officials pronounced him dead shortly afterward.

An examination of the boy's body revealed that he "had bruises and contusions on his cheek, forearms, chest, buttocks and lower abdomen," and his "weight was exceptionally low for a child his age," reports WCCO.