CRESWELL, Ore. Feb 12 2012– A Lane County couple has been arrested in connection with the December death of their 16-year-old son, because they failed to provide adequate medical care, police said.
Austin Sprout had been ill for more than a week before his death was reported to police on December 20, according to Lt. Spence Slater with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
“His parents declined to seek any medical attention for Austin, reportedly due to their religious beliefs,” Slater said. “Although the exact cause and manner of death is not being released, medical professionals have indicated that Austin’s condition was highly treatable.”
The family belongs to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which is said to rely on faith healing instead of medical treatment. The church has a history of controversial deaths related to healing by prayer, according to the Eugene Register Guard.
The boy’s mother, 34-year-old Brandi Bellew, and his stepfather, 39-year-old Russel Bellew, were arrested Friday. They were charged with second-degree manslaughter, which in Oregon includes causing a dependent person’s death by neglect or maltreatment.
Several Lane County agencies and the Oregon Dept. of Human Services had been investigating the circumstances of Sprout death since the day it was reported.