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updated 3/28/2008 8:11:08 PM ET 2008-03-29T00:11:08

Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.

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An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday from diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said.

She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.

On Friday, the child's three siblings were removed from the home while the investigation continues.

The girl's mother, Leilani Neumann, said the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith, are not fanatics and have nothing against doctors.

She insisted her youngest child was in good health until recently.

"We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks," she said Wednesday. "And then, just the day before and that day (she died), it suddenly just went to a more serious situation. We stayed fast in prayer then. We believed that she would recover. We saw signs that to us, it looked like she was recovering."

Last saw doctor at age 3
Her daughter — who had not seen a doctor since she got some shots as a 3-year-old, according to Vergin — had no fever and there was warmth in her body, she said.

The girl's father, Dale Neumann, a former police officer, said he started CPR "as soon as the breath of life left" his daughter's body.

Family members elsewhere called authorities to seek help for the girl.

Police and paramedics arrived within minutes and immediately called for an ambulance that took her to a hospital. But less than an hour after authorities reached the home, Madeline _ a bright student who left public school for home schooling this semester _ was declared dead.

The parents and social services experts agreed that removing the other children from the home would be best for everyone, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said. The children, aged 13 to 16, are staying with relatives, though they were not in danger, he said.

“There is no physical evidence of abuse or neglect,” he said.

Vergin said his agency’s final report will make no recommendations on possible charges against the parents, leaving that up to the district attorney.
“There is no intent. They didn’t want their child to die. They thought what they were doing was the right thing,” he said. “They believed up to the time she stopped breathing she was going to get better. They just thought it was a spiritual attack. They believed if they prayed enough she would get through it.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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