April 28, 2008— -- Parents who prayed as their 11-year-olddaughter died of untreated diabetes will be charged withsecond-degree reckless homicide, the Marathon County districtattorney said Monday.
"The failure to seek medical intervention created anunreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm,"District Attorney Jill Falstad said.
She announced the charges Monday during a news conference at theEverest Metro Police Department with Police Chief Dan Vergin.Vergin has said Dale and Leilani Neumann told investigators theirdaughter Madeline last saw a doctor when she was 3 to get someshots.
The couple face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Madeline - called Kara by her parents - died Easter Sunday atthe family's rural Weston home. An autopsy determined she died fromundiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her withtoo little insulin in her body.
The couple's lawyer did not immediately return a message left byThe Associated Press.
Leilani Neumann, 40, told AP previously she never expected herdaughter to die. The family believes in the Bible, which sayshealing comes from God, but they are not crazy, religious peopleand have nothing against doctors, she said.
Dale Neumann, a former police officer, has said he has friendswho are doctors. He started CPR "as soon as the breath of lifeleft" his daughter's body, he said.
Madeline, a straight-A student who was being home-schooled, wasin good health until she started getting tired about two weeksbefore she died, her mother has said. When the situation got worseover Easter weekend, "we stayed fast in prayer then," LeilaniNeumann said. "We believed that she would recover."
According to a search warrant request, the girl's grandmothertold investigators she had been ill for several days, was "verytired," and wanted to be held by her mother. By March 22, Madelinecouldn't walk or talk, her grandmother said.
The grandmother said she told Leilani Neumann to take the girlto the doctor but the mother said her daughter "would be fine andGod would heal her," the court record said.
The grandmother eventually contacted a daughter-in-law inCalifornia, who called police on a non-emergency line to report thegirl was in a coma and needed medical help. An ambulance wasdispatched to the home shortly before some friends in the homecalled 911 to report the girl had stopped breathing, authoritiessaid.
The Neumanns said they moved to Weston, a suburb of Wausau incentral Wisconsin, from California about two years ago to open acoffee shop and be closer to other relatives. The couple has threeother children, ages 13 to 16.
The family does not belong to an organized religion or faith,Leilani Neumann has said.
In March, an Oregon couple who belong to a church that preachesagainst medical care and believes in treating illness with prayerwere charged with manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in thedeath of their 15-month-old daughter. The toddler died March 2 ofbronchial pneumonia and a blood infection that could have beentreated with antibiotics, the state medical examiner's office said.
In Oregon, laws passed in the 1990s struck down legal shieldsfor faith-healing parents after the deaths of several childrenwhose parents were members of a fundamentalist church.