When Pennsylvania toddler Ella Grace Foster fell ill with pneumonia in November 2016, her parents didn’t seek medical assistance.
According to WPVI, parents Jonathan and Grace Foster decided to fight the illness with prayer instead.
The Fosters worshipped at the Faith Tabernacle Congregation, where it is a core belief that members should avoid doctors and medicine.
So even when little Ella Grace’s breathing became labored, her parents said the illness was “God’s will.”
According to the Reading Eagle, the 2-year-old died in her father’s arms after she didn’t receive medical attention. But even then, her parents didn’t contact authorities.
The Fosters immediately started making funeral arrangements for Ella Grace, but didn’t get far. The funeral home contacted the coroner, who then alerted police.
The parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child when it was revealed they didn’t seek medical help for Ella Grace, despite knowing the severity of her pneumonia.
Medical experts at trial stated that the toddler likely would not have died from the pneumonia had her parents given her treatment, WPVI reports.Berks County Sheriff’s Office
And on Friday, the parents were convicted on both charges.
Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams told People that the couple could face up to 10 years in prison. He said:
“I am very pleased. This was a very emotional case but a very important case. The child died as a result of the parents not seeking medical treatment for their sick infant, as a result of their religious beliefs.
We need to protect the voices of these children whose voices cannot be heard. This church has had a history of not seeking medical attention for children who are ill. We need to protect the children from their parents’ religious beliefs.”
They will receive their sentencing on April 25.