I personally would have thought one child’s death at the hands of a mother and father who think that standing over them and mumbling will cure them of things like bacterial pneumonia would have been enough to put them away for a long time and get their children to people who would care for them properly. Apparently not. Back when this first happened in 2009, Herbert and Catherine Schaible – members of the First Century Gospel Church in Juniata Park, which doesn’t believe in modern medicine – got 10 years probation for the death of their two year old and were ordered by the court to have the remaining seven(!) children looked after by a qualified medical professional. The degree to which they complied with this order is unclear, as a second child of theirs – this time, eight months hold – has been reported dead.
Around 8 p.m. Thursday, the couple called the John F. Fluehr & Sons funeral home on Cottman Avenue and said the infant had died, according to a police report.
The funeral home notified the Medical Examiner’s Office, which informed police. Paramedics who responded to the Rhawn Street house pronounced the child dead at 8:35. Investigators processed the house as a crime scene, according to the report.
Homicide detectives questioned the Schaibles at Police Headquarters Friday, said Capt. James Clark of the Homicide Unit. The couple were released pending the medical examiner’s ruling on what caused the child’s death, he said.
“The investigation is still in the preliminary stages,” Clark said. “Once the medical examiner makes a ruling, we will take statements from the parents and confer with the District Attorney’s Office to find out what, if any, charges will be brought against these parents.”
To be fair, the circumstances surrounding the child’s death are under investigation, so are not yet determined. However, there’s no indication from the article or from the behavior of the police that it was due to some kind of accidental injury; otherwise they wouldn’t have treated the location as if it were a crime scene. In the interest of fairness, there is the possibility that even if this child did get sick, it could have progressed rapidly enough to catch them by surprise.
Given their past behavior, though, I personally don’t think this is true. I’m just giving some benefit of the doubt until the ruling comes back from the medical examiner’s office. In the meantime, the other children have been removed from the parents’ “care”, but it doesn’t specify where they were taken.
I keep thinking that if this child’s death was the result of more negligence, then it would only demonstrate the problem the courts caused back in 2010 when they allowed this couple to keep custody of their children. In doing so, and in ordering them to receive visits from a court-appointed doctor, they were put into a position where they had to either obey the secular rule of law or their interpretation of the Word of God. Given the extent to which they shunned modern medicine in hopes of divine intervention on their children’s behalf, I think we should have anticipated the outcome of this decision even before it was made.