Teen from faith-healing family dies at Ore. home

1 day ago

GLADSTONE, Ore. (AP) A 16-year-old boy whose parents rely on prayer instead of medical care has died after an illness marked by stomach pains and shortness of breath. Gladstone police say relatives and church members told them Tuesday that the teenager refused treatment for the illness, as he was entitled to do under Oregon law.

"All of the interviews from last night are that he did in fact refuse treatment," said Sgt. Lynne Benton. "Unless we can disprove that, charges probably won't be filed in this case.

She said state law allows minors 14 and older to make such decisions.

Benton said officers and a deputy medical examiner were called to the house of Neil Beagley about an hour after his death late Tuesday afternoon.

Benton said the boy was surrounded by family members when he died, and a board member of the Followers of Christ church contacted the authorities.

The boy got sick about a week ago and like all members of the religious order did not receive medical attention. His condition worsened Sunday and members of the church gathered for prayer, Benton said.

An autopsy was scheduled.

In March, the boy's 15-month-old cousin, Ava Worthington, died at home from bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection. Her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, also failed to contact a doctor and are awaiting trial on criminal charges in her death.

Oregon lawmakers passed new laws striking down legal shields for faith-healing parents after several children from the Followers of Christ church died in the 1990s.

The Oregon City church is not associated with a mainstream denomination.

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