A FEW OF THE CHILDREN
Details about the cause of child deaths in faith-healing sects are hard to come by, as are photographs. Mostly what we have are photos of the grave markers. Public records and in some cases the testimony of relatives have given us information on the few Followers of Christ children below. None of them got any medical attention. Links to autopsy or coroner’s reports are included where they are available. Readers should be advised; some of the details are graphic.
Arrian Jade Granden
In 2012 Arrian, 15, died at her home in Parma, Idaho, after suffering nausea and vomiting for three days. She became weak and lethargic and unable to eat or drink. She was unconscious for four or five hours and then suffered cardiac arrest. The pathologist found gastrointestinal hemorrhage and a ruptured esophagus.
Besides her parents many family and friends were in her home when public officials arrived, but no one had called for medical help.
Arrian had five brothers and two sisters; she was the third oldest. In many ways, Arrian was a typical teen-age girl. She loved snowboarding and running track. She was a bit obsessed with boys, was fond of both elegant dresses and torn jeans, and loved to take pictures with her girlfriends. A few months before her death she had gotten a new dog. The last posting on her Facebook page was simply, “Can’t wait for school.”. (Autopsy report)
In 2010 Cooper died at 1 year, 11 months, from complications of Type 1 diabetes. (Coroner’s report)
Steven Paul Hughes
Steven was born with spina bifida and Arnold Chiari malformation; he died from untreated bronchial pneumonia at the age of 2 in 1982. According to his aunt, he never received any form of therapy for his birth defects and was not allowed the use of a wheelchair or any other adaptive equipment.
The aunt was not notified that Steven had been ill, because the Followers are afraid that ex-members like the aunt may turn the family into Child Protective Services
The aunt also said that Steven’s grandmother, who was present at his birth, claimed he had been born with a tail. She probably had that impression because of the spina bifida. She thought he was possessed by the devil. (Coroner’s report)
In 2013 Micah died at four days old with a bowel obstruction and sepsis. Such a blockage usually causes extreme pain and repeated vomiting. The birth had been unattended. No autopsy was performed, but the coroner’s external examination found the belly distended and hardened and the scrotum sac swollen to four times normal size. (Coroner’s report)
Jerry died in 1980 from untreated diabetes at the age of 11. According to his cousin, Jerry’s mother knew he was diabetic and tried to control his type 1 diabetes with diet. He had symptoms of diabetes for several weeks before he went into a diabetic coma.
Jerry was the third of four children to die in his family and the only one to live past birth. He had been a large baby, and the midwives pulled on him so hard that they broke his arm. One of the church elders applied a crude plaster cast.
Kraig Gardiner, Darren L. Gardiner & Scott James Gardiner
Kraig, Darren, and Scott were Jerry’s brothers. All three died at birth. No autopsies were done, but Rh factor blood group incompatibility was the suspected cause of death in all three cases. With prenatal care, harm to babies is routinely prevented by treating the mother during pregnancy. In compliance with Followers of Christ beliefs, however, Mrs. Gardiner had no prenatal care and the births were attended only by unlicensed church midwives.
Pamela Jade Eells
In 2011 Pamela Eells died of pneumonia at 16 years old in New Plymouth. She had long suffered from chronic osteomyelitis in her pelvic bone and then slowly drowned as her lungs filled with fluid.
Dr. Charles Garrison performed the autopsy. He was frank: “If you’ve ever been in a situation where you can’t breathe, it’s pretty desperate. You’re drowning in your own fluids. It’s inexplicable to me to comprehend how anyone can watch a child die and do nothing.” (Coroner’s report)
Garrett Dean Eells
Jackson Scott Porter
In 2013 Jackson, a baby girl, died in distress twenty minutes after birth. The coroner gave the cause of death as extreme prematurity. He also stated that the mother had received no prenatal care because it was against her religion. (Autopsy report)
Rockwell Alexander Sevy
Teresa May Milburn
Memphis Lee Morris
In 2012 Memphis died in Marsing one hour after birth due to infection of fetal membranes and kidney abnormality. (Coroner’s report)
In 2013 Oliver died in Caldwell at 22 hours old due to meconium aspiration syndrome, a condition caused by a baby’s first stool being present in the lungs before or during delivery. The mother said he had struggled to breathe since birth. (Autopsy report)