Published March 26, 2008
WESTON, Wis. – An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday.
Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said Madeline Neumann died Sunday.
"She got sicker and sicker until she was dead," he said.
Vergin said an autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.
The girl's parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to "apparently they didn't have enough faith," the police chief said.
They believed the key to healing "was it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray," he said.
The mother believes the girl could still be resurrected, the police chief said.
Telephone messages left at the Neumann home by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
The family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion, Vergin said. "They have a little Bible study of a few people."
The parents told investigators their daughter last saw a doctor when she was 3 to get some shots, Vergin said. The girl had attended public school during the first semester but didn't return for the second semester.
Officers went to the home after one of the girl's relatives in California called police to check on her, Vergin said. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The relative was fearful the girl was "extremely ill, dire," Vergin said.
The girl has three siblings, ranging in age from 13 to 16, the police chief said.
"They are still in the home," he said. "There is no reason to remove them. There is no abuse or signs of abuse that we can see."
The girl's death remains under investigation and the findings will be forwarded to the district attorney to review for possible charges, the chief said.
The family operates a coffee shop in Weston, which is a suburb of Wausau, Vergin said.