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Couple admit fault in faith-healing death

Sept. 20, 2012 at 7:39 AM

CRESWELL, Ore., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- An Oregon couple pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of their son who died of appendicitis when they chose prayer over medical care.

As part of the agreement with prosecutors Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court, Russel and Brandi Bellew will spend the next five years on probation, The Register-Guard newspaper of Eugene reported Wednesday.

Brandi Bellew's son from a previous marriage, Scout, 16, died Dec. 20 after a week and a half of flu-like symptoms at their Creswell home. The teen's appendix had ruptured, but the family -- who attend the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in Pleasant Hill, which is known for faith healing -- didn't seek medical attention.

"The family, through their reliance on faith, ended up praying for his recovery," said Lane County prosecutor Erik Hasselman.

During the couple's probation, they are required to notify a doctor any time their surviving six children are sick enough to miss more than one day of school, The Register-Guard reported.

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