Infant of Followers of Christ Church members dies hours after delivery

Detectives investigating baby's death

OREGON CITY, Ore. – Clackamas County detectives are investigating the death of an infant daughter born to two members of the Followers of Christ Church, who reject all medical care in favor of faith healing.

Sarah Mitchell, 24, gave birth to twin girls at her parents’ Oregon City home on Saturday, March 5, according to Detective Sgt. Dan Kraus.

Mitchell’s second daughter developed breathing complications and died a few hours later.

Followers of Christ Church members believe in using prayer and oil over medical care. Church members Shannon and Dale Hickman in 2011 were convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison following the 2009 death of their infant son two hours after delivery.

Sarah Mitchell and Shannon Hickman are sisters.

Family members, church members and three midwives were at the home for the birth, Kraus said. No one in the home called 911.

After the baby’s death, church elder Carl Hansen contacted the county medical examiner, who determined that Mitchell's surviving infant daughter needed medical attention and called police.

Authorities convinced Sarah and her husband, Travis Mitchell, to seek professional medical care for their daughter. The baby, believed to be born several week premature, is currently in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Oregon Health & Science University.

The medical examiner is working to determine the other infant’s cause of death.

Detectives will deliver their case to the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office. No charges have been filed.

Detectives are seeking additional tips in the case. 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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