Oregon parents have been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the faith healing death of their daughter. According to police, the couple withheld “necessary and adequate” medical attention from the 12-year-old girl, choosing prayer over modern medicine, with tragic consequence.
Detectives arrested Travis Rossiter, 39, and Wenona Rossiter, 37, on Thursday, Aug. 29, and accused them of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of their daughter, Syble Rossiter.
Syble Ann Marie Rossiter died at the family home in Albany, Oregon, earlier this year. The Medical Examiner reports the girl died from complications of Type 1 diabetes, a treatable medical condition. Albany Police Capt. Eric Carter said:
The 12-year-old had a treatable medical condition and the parents did not provide adequate and necessary medical care to that child. And that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of her on February 5 of this year.
When asked if she would have survived if she had been treated, Capt. Carter said, “That’s what I was briefed on. Yes.”
The girl’s parents, Travis and Wenona Rossiter, belong to the Church of the First Born. The church rejects modern medicine, believing that those who are sick should be prayed over and anointed with oil. The church teaches that if someone goes to a doctor for medical care, they are going against God.The church justifies their teaching with the Biblical verse James 5:14:
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
This is not the first time the church has been implicated in the senseless death of a child. Last year, a husband and wife who were also members of the Church of the First Born, received probation after pleading guilty to negligent homicide in the faith healing death of their 16-year-old son. According to reports, Russel and Brandi Bellew allowed their 16-year-old son to die a painful and agonizing death from an infection caused by a burst appendix, choosing to treat their son with prayer rather than modern medicine.
Travis and Wenona Rossiter are currently being held in the Linn County Jail. Their bail has been set at $50,000, and they are scheduled to appear in Linn County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon.
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