A man and woman who rejected medical care in favor of faith-healing were sentenced to nearly seven years in prison after pleading guilty in the death of their daughter. 

As Dearly previously reported, Sarah Mitchell, 25, and her husband, Travis Lee Mitchell, 22, were charged in 2017 for negligent homicide and criminal mistreatment in the death of their premature baby.

The members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, Oregon, didn’t believe in medicine. As a result the parents chose not to call 911, even though their daughter struggled for hours to breathe after Sarah’s premature labor. 

Instead, the members of the church were instructed to lay hands on the child and pray for her while she was dying.

The parents failed to provide any medical care for their newborn beyond prayer.  

The girl died after delivery, while the other twin survived. 

According to court documents, the parents knew the baby died “when she didn’t cry out anymore.”

As The Oregonian reports, Sarah didn’t receive prenatal care during her entire pregnancy — she didn’t even know she was carrying twins. 

The medical examiner determined the child’s death was due to complications of prematurity. Had she received proper medical treatment, she could have survived.

Travis and Sarah Mitchell were both sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, along with three years post-prison supervision. 

At Clackamas County Circuit Court hearing the Mitchells’ defense attorney, Stephen Houze, read a signed statement from the parents stating:

Everyone in the church should always seek adequate medical care for our children.

As a part of the plea agreement, Sarah Mitchell’s father, Walter White, founder of the church, was forced to read the statement to his congregation. 

The statement will also be posted inside the Followers of Christ Church. 

The surviving twin is currently in the custody of foster parents.

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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