DA to Decide on Possible Charges in Prayer Healing Death

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — The Marathon County District Attorney said she will review next week whether to charge the parents of a girl who died from untreated diabetes last month.

Madeline Neumann, 11, died March 23 at her rural Weston home from an undiagnosed but treatable form of diabetes as her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, prayed for her to get better. Her mother said she never expected her daughter, whom she called Kara, to die.

The county’s district attorney, Jill Falstad, said she will consider whether to charge the parents next week but she was not sure when she’ll reach a decision. She had been waiting for completed police reports.

Less than a week after the girl’s death, three of her siblings, ranging in age from 13 to 16, were removed from the home to stay with other relatives. That came after an agreement between the parents and social services experts that the move would be in the best interests of everyone, authorities said, adding the children were not in danger.

The parents told investigators they did not know their daughter had diabetes and she last saw a doctor when she was 3 to get some shots.

An autopsy determined Madeline died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body.

The case could be a landmark one in Wisconsin, said Shawn Peters, a University of Wisconsin-Madison scholar. He said state law allows for a range of charges, from none to homicide.

Authorities learned of the case after the girl’s grandmother called a daughter-in-law in California, who then called police to report the girl was in a coma and needed medical help.

The family moved to Weston, a suburb of Wausau in central Wisconsin, from California about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives, the Neumanns said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday April 13, 2008.
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