WESTON, Wisconsin (AP) -- Two parents who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes were charged Monday with second-degree reckless homicide.
Family and friends had urged Dale and Leilani Neumann to get help for their daughter, but the father considered the illness "a test of faith" and the mother never considered taking the girl to the doctor because she thought her daughter was under a "spiritual attack," the criminal complaint said.
According to court documents, Leilani Neumann said in a written statement to police that she never considered taking the girl, who was being home-schooled, to a doctor.
"We just thought it was a spiritual attack and we prayed for her. My husband Dale was crying and mentioned taking Kara to the doctor and I said, 'The Lord's going to heal her,' and we continued to pray," she wrote.
The father told investigators he noticed his daughter was weak and slower for about two weeks but he attributed it to symptoms of the girl reaching puberty, the complaint said.
A day before Madeline died, according to the criminal complaint, the father wrote an e-mail with the headline, "Help our daughter needs emergency prayer!!!!." It said his daughter was "very weak and pale at the moment with hardly any strength."
The girl's grandmother, Evalani Gordon, told police that she learned her granddaughter could not walk or talk on March 22 and advised Leilani Neumann to take the girl to a doctor.
Gordon eventually contacted a daughter-in-law in California who called police on a non-emergency line to report the girl was in a coma and needed medical help. An ambulance was dispatched shortly before some friends in the home called 911 to report the girl had stopped breathing, authorities said.
One relative told police that the girl's mother believed she "died because the devil is trying to stop Leilani from starting her own ministry," the complaint said.