Joshua and Rachel Piland had three children, a 2-year-old boy, a 3-year-old boy, and a newborn baby girl named Abigail, whom they welcomed into the world on February 6.
On February 9, three days after Abigail was born, she passed away. According to the Detroit Free Press, Abigail suffered from conditions that stemmed from a common illness known as jaundice.
In late September 2017, Joshua and Rachel were charged with involuntary manslaughter, as police believe that Abigail’s death was the result of neglectful parents.
As the Detroit Free Press reports, Rachel’s midwife, as well as Abigail’s maternal grandmother, noticed that the baby was suffering from jaundice the day after her birth and told Rachel that Abigail needed to see a doctor.
However, Joshua and Rachel, who are both devout Christians, said “God doesn’t make mistakes” and refused to take Abigail to see a doctor.
Two days later, Rachel found her daughter “lifeless and not breathing.”
Authorities were not notified of the little girl’s passing until several hours after her death, when a family relative based in California called the Lansing Police Department.Rachel Kerrpiland/Facebook
Lansing Police Detective Peter Scaccia said that upon arriving at the home, they “went upstairs and found a baby that had passed away and three other people praying for it.”
The Detroit Free Press reported:
In an interview nearly a month after Abigail’s death, Rachel Piland, 30, told DHHS investigators she believed she would hold her child again because the baby would be resurrected.
Rachel and Joshua Piland, 36, also said they understood the newborn’s symptoms but chose to “believe in the word of God over the symptoms,” court records show.
Following Abigail’s passing, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials petitioned to removed Joshua and Rachel’s two boys from the home.
The request was granted by Ingham County Circuit Court Referee Megan Mertens on March 31. The boys were sent to live with their maternal grandparents in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Rachel Kerrpiland/Facebook
In June, the couple attended a review hearing to regain custody of their two boys. However, the couple reportedly refused to agree to a “court-ordered safety plan.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, the safety plan banned the parents from using “physical disciplining” techniques on their children.
With their sons still living with their grandparents, Joshua and Rachel’s criminal proceeding were expected to resume on October 5.