Oregon City faith-healing couple arrested on murder charges afte - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon City faith-healing couple arrested on murder charges after baby's death

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Sarah Elaine Mitchell, Travis Lee Mitchell, jail booking photos Sarah Elaine Mitchell, Travis Lee Mitchell, jail booking photos
OREGON CITY, OR (KPTV) -

A man and woman who believe in faith healing have been arrested on murder charges after their newborn daughter died just hours after birth. 

Investigators said Sarah Elaine Mitchell, 24, gave birth to twin girls March 5 at her parents' home in Oregon City. Family members, three midwives and members of the Followers of Christ Church congregation were present for the births.

Deputies said one of the babies developed breathing complications and died. A church elder contacted the Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office, but deputies said nobody called 911.

The medical examiner contacted law enforcement and the family was persuaded to seek professional care for the surviving girl, who was taken to a neonatal intensive care unit.  

The medical examiner determined the cause of death for the second baby was complications of prematurity and said the girl could have survived with immediate medical attention.

Mitchell and her husband, 21-year-old Travis Lee Mitchell, were not immediately charged with a crime.

They were both booked into the Clackamas County Jail on Monday on charges of murder and criminal mistreatment. They were being held without bail.  

Sarah Mitchell is the sister of Shannon Hickman. Shannon and Dale Hickman were convicted of manslaughter for the death of their newborn son in 2009. Investigators said they also believed in faith healing and refused to seek medical care for the child.

Shannon and Dale Hickman were sentenced to six years in prison in 2011.

Followers of Christ Church members reject medicine in favor of prayer and anointment with oil, according to investigators.   

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