Faith-healing couple charged with murder following newborn baby's death
OREGON CITY, Ore. —
The faith-healing parents of a baby who died earlier this year just hours after she was born have been charged with murder in connection to her death.
Sarah Mitchell, 24, gave birth to twin girls March 5 at her parents' Oregon City home. She and her husband, 21-year-old Travis Mitchell, are part of the Followers of Christ church - a group that doesn't believe in medical care and instead relies on prayer and anointment with oil for healing.
One of the infants, Ginnifer, died just hours after birth due to breathing problems.
State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson told KATU News she isn’t sure if Ginnifer would have survived if she was taken immediately to the hospital, but said it would have given her a chance.
Dr. Gunson performed Ginnifer’s autopsy and ruled the infant died of complications of prematurity, specifically relating to oxygen intake from the lungs. She’s not sure how premature the baby was, but estimates Mitchell gave birth about two months early.
Travis and Sarah Mitchell have been charged with murder and criminal mistreatment in Clackamas County.
Only Mitchell's family, fellow Followers of Christ members and three midwives were present at the birth of the two girls.
Church members Dale and Shannon HIckman were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced in 2011 to six years in prison for the death of their newborn baby in Oregon City. Shannon Hickman is Sarah Mitchell's sister.