A religious sect that relies on prayer to heal its members, has seen another of its youngsters die of what authorities believe to be natural causes.
There’s an autopsy underway Wednesday afternoon to confirm the cause.
Police interviews indicate that 16-year-old, Neil Beagley complained of stomach pains for a week. They had gotten worse two days ago. He died Tuesday afternoon.
The Followers of Christ told police that they prayed for Beagley’s recovery. It’s against the law to deny a young child medical treatment, even for religious reasons.
But Gladstone police sergeant, Lynne Benton, says the law is different for teens.
Lynne Benton: “In Oregon, state law allows anyone 14 years and older to deny medical treatment. And what we’ve gathered so far is that he apparently refused medical treatment.”
Benton says it’s unlikely that prosecutors can prove that Beagley actually wanted treatment, and that someone interfered, illegally.
The Followers of Christ also prayed unsuccessfully for the recovery of 15-month-old Ava Worthington, two months ago.
Coincidentally, her parents were formally charged with the girl’s death, Tuesday. Their trial is scheduled for next year.