Family Investigated after Praying for Daughter

Ad Feedback - Three children of a family who chose prayer over medical attention for their daughter were removed from their parent's home, Friday.

Madeline (Kara) Neumann, 11, died Sunday from complications of diabetes. Her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston, Wis., said they did not realize their daughter had diabetes and therefore did not take her to the doctor. They instead prayed for her to get better.

"We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks," Leilani Neumann said. "And then just the day before and that day (she died), it suddenly just went to a more serious situation. We stayed fast in prayer then. We believed that she would recover."

Leilani had contacted an elder of Unleavened Bread Ministries, an online ministry where she had submitted testimonies of answered prayer before.

"They asked me to pray and agree with them in prayer," David Eells, the ministry's founder, said in a press release. "They did not seem overly concerned because they had (experienced) healings before."

Read the entire press release here.

The family told investigators they believe in the Bible, which says healing comes from God.

Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said the Nuemann's remaining three children were not in any danger, but are staying with relatives for now.

"There is no physical evidence of abuse or neglect," he said. He added that his agency would make no recommendations of charges against the parents.

"They didn't want their child to die," he said. "They thought what they were doing was the right thing."

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske said that state law does not punish parents if they, in good faith, select prayer as a basis of treatment for a disease. She added, however, that a charge of second-degree reckless homicide is still possible.

Others, including Eells, say the law does not give fair treatment to those who may choose prayer over medical treatment as to those who may choose a bad doctor.

"(It is) sad (because) authorities don't investigate the people who put their trust in doctors, whose family members die by the hundreds of thousands from medical mistakes every year," Eells said. "We know that the doctors do the best they can with what they have, and we do not condemn them.  We would like the same consideration."

Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation.

"Our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal," she said. "We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."

Sources: The Associated Press, TMJ4 Milwaukee, Wausau Daily Herald, Unleavened Bread Ministries

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