Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Child died when religious parents delayed 911 call

The mother of an 11-year-old girl in Weston, Wisconsin who died of untreated diabetes said that she did not know her daughter was terminally ill as she prayed for her to get better. Madeline Neumann died Sunday from an undiagnosed and treatable form of diabetes.

Her mother, Leilani Neumann said she never expected her daughter to die. The family believes in the Bible, and it says healing comes from God, but they are "not crazy, religious people and they have nothing against doctors," she said.

The girl’s father, Dale Neumann, a former police officer, said he has friends who are doctors. He started CPR “as soon as the breath of life left” his daughter’s body, he said. Other family members called 911 to seek emergency help, Leilani Neumann said. “We are remaining strong for our children,” she said. “Only our faith in God is giving us strength at this time.” They have three other children.

Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin has said an autopsy determined Madeline died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body. She had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, he said. She had not been diagnosed with the ailment previously, he said.

The girl was in public school last semester and being home schooled this semester, Vergin said. But Leilani Neumann said her daughter, a straight A student, was in good health until recently.

“We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks,” she said. “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.” Her daughter had no fever and there was warmth in her body, she explained. The family does not belong to an organized religion or faith, Leilani Neumann said.

She said the family is not worried about a police investigation into her daughter’s death because “our lives are in God’s hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do.”

Vergin said he expect the investigation to wrap up by Friday and the findings to be forwarded to the district attorney to review for possible charges.

The family moved to Weston from California about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives, the Neumanns said. They live in the rural town of Weston, in a modern, middle class home in the woods.

Officers went to the home after a relative in California asked police to check on the girl. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to Vergin, the parents told investigators Madeline last saw a doctor when she was three. The girl had attended public school during the first semester but didn’t return for the second semester.

Mrs. Neumann said she deeply loves all her children and has nurtured them spiritually, emotionally and physically. “Our lives are in God’s hands and whatever we go through we are just going to trust him,” she said. “We need healing. We are going through the healing process.” (info from the Wausau Daily Herald)

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