A 16-year-old boy whose parents rely on prayer instead of medical care died Tuesday following an illness marked by stomach pains and shortness of breath, Gladstone police said.
Police and a Clackamas County major crimes team launched an investigation into the death
Officers and a deputy medical examiner were called to the family’s house about an hour after the boy’s death late Tuesday afternoon, said Sgt. Lynne Benton of the Gladstone Police Department.
Benton said the boy was surrounded by family when he died, and a board member of the Followers of Christ church contacted the authorities.
The boy became sick a week ago and — like all members of the religious order — did not receive medical attention. His condition worsened Sunday and members of the church gathered for prayer, Benton said.
An autopsy is planned.
Police have confirmed the family is connected to another recent high-profile case, which involved a toddler who died in March.
Carl and Raylene Worthington were members of the church and were charged with manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in connection with the death of their 15-month-old daughter.
A state medical examiner ruled Ava Worthington died from bronchial pneumonia and a flood infection, which could have been treated with antibiotics. Prosecutors called it a case of medical neglect.
No arrests have been made in the latest case, but information will be forwarded to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office for review, Benton said.
Oregon lawmakers passed new laws striking down legal shields for faith-healing parents after several children from the Followers of Christ church died in the 1990s.
Oregon City’s Followers of Christ church is not associated with a mainstream denomination.
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