Faith-healing family charged with murder when newborn dies hours after birth

Sister of newborn’s mom is serving a jail sentence for the same thing

Parents of a newborn baby who died from breathing problems just hours after her birth have been charged with murder.

According to KATU, Sarah Mitchell, 24, and her husband Travis Mitchell, 21, are members of the Followers of Christ church, which relies on faith healing vs. traditional medical care. They are each facing murder and criminal mistreatment charges in connection to their premature newborn daughter’s death.

Mitchell reportedly gave birth to twin baby girls on March 5 at her parents’ home in Oregon City. One of the babies only survived for a few hours.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson ruled that the baby girl died of breathing difficulties as a complication of her premature birth. Dr. Gunson told KATU that it’s possible the little girl may have died even if she had been brought to the hospital, but that medical care would have given her a chance at survival.

According to KATU, only family members and three midwives were present at the time of the baby’s birth. The family did not call 911 during the medical emergency, and called the county medical examiner after the first baby girl died, and he convinced them to take the second infant to the hospital, where she appears to have been successfully treated.

This is not the first time a member of the family has been charged in relation to an infant death. Sarah Mitchell’s sister Shannon Hickman and her husband Dale Hickman are each serving a six-year manslaughter sentence for the 2009 death of their newborn delivered at home in Oregon City.

Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office