Video: Teen treated by healer dies of infection

updated 6/20/2008 9:49:22 AM ET 2008-06-20T13:49:22

Oregon officials say a teenager from a faith-healing family died from an illness that could have been easily treated, just a few months after a toddler cousin of his died in a case that has led to criminal charges.

Tuesday’s death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley, however, may not be a crime because Oregon law allows minors 14 and older to decide whether to accept medical treatment. Beagley’s family says he refused it.

In March, the boy’s 15-month-old cousin died from bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection. Her parents have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminal mistreatment, and their attorneys say they’ll use a religious freedom defense.

Both families belong to the Followers of Christ church, whose members pray for healing instead of seeking medical treatment.

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