Charges possible in diabetes death
Mar. 28, 2008
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday March 29, 2008
Weston – A local police official said Friday that charges are possible against the parents of Madeline Kara Neumann, the 11-year-old girl who died of complications from untreated diabetes. “If we didn’t believe at the end of our investigation there (would) be charges, then our investigation would have ended a lot sooner,” Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel.
He said his department will likely complete its investigation by early next week and that ultimately it will be up to the Marathon County district attorney to determine what charges, if any, could be filed in a case that has received national attention.
“Our feeling is it was an unnecessary death,” Vergin said. “After everything else is said and done, it was unnecessary for the 11-year-old to die. She could have easily been treated and had a long, loving life here on Earth.”
Lesli Pluster, an assistant district attorney, said the case “is still considered under investigation.”
Dale and Leilani Neumann had not taken their daughter to a doctor since she was 3 years old, police said. Leilani Neumann has said the family does not belong to any organized religion or faith but believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God.
The girl died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis, a treatable though serious condition of type 1 diabetes in which acid builds up in the blood.
Earlier this week, police executed a search warrant on the Neumanns’ home and took away medications, medical books, bedding, religious books, videos and pamphlets, as well as diaries and computer equipment.
Among the items taken by police from the home were eight Blue Cross HMO cards for the family, according to an inventory. The record didn’t indicate whether the cards were still valid or had expired.
The book “Sovereign God,” by David Eells, and several CDs by Eells were also taken. Eells is the founder of the Web site AmericasLastDays.com and Unleavened Bread Ministries. Leilani Neumann has written two posts on the Web site, and she and her husband had twice prayed over the telephone with Eells in the waning hours of Kara’s life.
Other books included “Handbook for Healing,” “God’s Chosen Fast,” “90 Minutes in Heaven,” “Dear God Prayer Book” and a medical and first-aid book.
The request for the search warrant included new details of the case. The girl was known as Kara to family and friends, but she is referred to as Madeline in the official documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel.
Evalani Gordon, the girl’s grandmother, told an investigator that her granddaughter had been ill for one to 1 1/2 weeks and reported that “Madeline was very tired and wanted to be held by mom.”
She said three to four days before her granddaughter’s death, “the girl only wanted to lie down and do homework from her bed.” By Saturday, when the girl was unable to walk or talk, the grandmother, who lives out of state, told Leilani Neumann to take Madeline to a doctor, the document says.
“Leilani Neumann told Evalani Gordon that Madeline would be fine and God would heal her,” according to the document.
On Sunday, Gordon spoke with Leilani Neumann and discovered the girl was in a coma. Gordon then contacted a daughter-in-law, Ariel Ness, who lives in California. Ness then called the Marathon County Dispatch Center.
Ness later contacted the dispatch center to inform authorities that “water may have been poured down the girl’s throat,” the document says.
Marathon County Medical Examiner John Larson said that the girl “was found to be in an emaciated state,” according to the document.
In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Larson said, “I think it’s probably safe to say she was gaunt, drawn, extremely slender. She certainly had an appearance of malnutrition and dehydration.”
According to the Web site of the American Diabetes Association, the body burns fat to get energy in ketoacidosis.
Vergin also provided other details of the case in an interview. He said the Neumanns’ three other children were at the home as well as Althea and Randall Wormgoor, friends of the couple. The Wormgoors spoke on the phone during a 911 call from the home Sunday.
Vergin said when authorities arrived at the home, “the copper just scooped the child up and ran out to the ambulance.”
Friday, a friend of the family answered the door at the Neumanns’ home and said the family was not interested in talking.
Vergin said on Friday the three other Neumann children were staying with extended family outside Marathon County under an agreement reached by the Neumanns and authorities. The children had been in the custody of the Marathon County Department of Social Services. Vergin said the children had been questioned by authorities and given medical checkups.
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