Dale and Leilani Neumann Should Go to Prison

FOXNews.com – Police: Girl Dies After Parents Pray for Healing Instead of Seeking Medical Help – Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Fox News has a story out on the death of 11-year-old Madeline Neumann. Apparently over a 30 day period she likely suffered from “nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.” An autopsy determined that the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis.

According to the report by Fox News, Madeline’s parents attributed her death to the fact that they didn’t have enough faith. It does not appear that medical professionals were ever brought to her aid.

To me, to allow a child to suffer through the symptoms that she probably suffered while not calling on medical health professionals is abuse. Abuse that has now resulted in this little girl’s death.

I grew up in a family of prayer. When I was 4 I had a tremendous fever and was taken to a church where apparently I was prayed for and healed. I grew up with parents who were involved in a sort of radical Jesus movement of the 70s. Faith healing was the norm in my childhood and routinely people were healed, demons were cast out, and once my father even claimed once that he felt a woman with one leg shorter than the other actually have her shorter leg grow while being healed in a church service.

While today faith healing is not something that I believe in, I certainly respect any individual’s choice to pray for their child and to practice their religion within the freedoms that the United States provides. But at a certain point you have to give over to science and can no longer rely solely on God to heal. To not do so is abusive to children and can result in death.

Nothing can be worse than the personal hell of losing a child. But at the same time, a message needs to be sent that parents ought to be obligated to seek medical attention for their children when things go on for more than a few days. Dale and Leilani Neumann ought to serve as examples for other parents that you can’t let things go as far as they let them go while hoping that God will save your sick child. It’s sad that Madeline is dead, but I mostly blame her parents, not God.

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  1. abcd says:

    Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Stu says:

    “parents ought to be obligated to seek medical attention for their children when things go on for more than a few days”.

    Any indication on how many days a parent should persists with faith before giving over to medical science when they have a suffering child?

  3. I consider myself a man of faith. I have faith that God will direct the hands of doctors, I have faith that God has blessed society with technology to help us, and I have faith that God has given certain individuals the abilities to be experts in their field to help mankind.

    This is a sad story.

  4. Eric says:

    Stu – it’s common sense.

    If your child is sick for a few days without improving or very sick for a short period of time you take them to a doctor to be on the safe side. You use some basic judgment depending on how ill they appear to be. If you aren’t capable of this then you are probably not capable of being a very good parent.

    I am not saying that parents would get it right 100% of the time as some illnesses will take hold very fast but they obviously felt it was serious to warrant praying for her so it would appear to be serious enough to warrant considering medical attention.

    It’s not rocket science.

    How do you know when to seek the help of a doctor when you are ill yourself? You just do – as should any responsible parent.

    This reminds me of the story of the man in the flood sat on top of his house. When a man in a boat comes to rescue him he refuses help saying that God will help him. Another man shows up in a boat and he refuses his help too, then a helicopter turns up and he refuses help again saying that God will help him. Finally he drowns.

    In heaven he asks God why he didn’t help him and God says “I sent you 2 boats and a helicopter what more do you want?!”

    The child’s parents had the option to go to seek medical help and instead they chose to ignore it and wait for God’s direct intervention. Their child paid the ultimate price.

  5. Do you want to put the doctors responsible for 98,000 deaths per year due to medical errors in prison?

    The issue is a little more complicated than you make it out to be. For an alternative viewpoint, see
    Speaking of faith…
    at Coincidence Theories.

    Destroying the remainder of this family is not the answer.

  6. Do you want to put the doctors responsible for 98,000 deaths per year due to medical errors in prison?

    The issue is a little more complicated than you make it out to be. For an alternative viewpoint, see
    Speaking of faith…
    at Coincidence Theories.

    Destroying the remainder of this family is not the answer.

  7. Stu says:


    I was drawing attention to the rather general comment that a parent faces some implied legal obligation to take their child to a doctor after they have been ill for x number of days. Whether those days are spent waiting for divine intervention, or merely to monitor the extent of the illness is irrelevant.
    It was a somewhat blasé and convenient comment in the article that brushes over the more complex issues relating to judgment and parental/humane obligation and responsibility- that you touched on. IMHO religion should place no part in the decision process for seeking medical intervention. If someone wants to consider the intervention of god, then I would suggest the follow the logic outlined by expecting.rain.


  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Do you want to put the doctors responsible for 98,000 deaths per year due to medical errors in prison?

    No. I would not suggest that unintentional errors resulting in death with a best efforts try ought to result in imprisonment.

    But this is not what happened here.

    If the error that a doctor made was that rather than treat a patient medically in a life threatening situation they instead chose simply to pray for their patient though, yes, I’d recommend prison for that doctor.

    Doctors are human and make human errors. One of their human errors though typically is not to ignore science and instead hope that superstition will save their patient.

  9. Thomas Hawk says:

    Any indication on how many days a parent should persists with faith before giving over to medical science when they have a suffering child?

    Stu, I think that it depends on the situation. I think that kids often get sick. Sometimes if my child has a fever I’ll give them Tylenol or ibuprofen to try and bring the fever down. If this works and the cold or sickness seems less serious based on their symptoms I’ll treat them at home.

    If the symptoms are serious though or they last beyond a couple of days I’m likely to take my child to the doctor to get a professional opinion.

    Certainly the type of symptoms and the time involved in the case the Neumann child went too far.

    Whether a child is being prayed for or not, I believe that most serious symptoms ought to be sent to a medical professional within about four days max. Certainly there are cases where immediate medical attention should be given — such as unconsciousness or a severe fever that won’t go down with Tylenol or ibuprofen.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You should look into the book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman. It touches on a lot of issues about faith healing and ignorance of Western medicine by parents concerning a severely epileptic child. At the very least google it. Very interesting.

    For the record, I agree with the originating opinion. It constitutes abuse.

  11. NickBush24 says:

    These parents need to be thrown in jail for child abuse and never be allowed to have children again.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The fact that the husband was a former police officer and is trained to help people, could not help his own daughter, is strange. The wife knows how to use the internet since she posts on a Christian site. She could have gone to WebMD, type in the symptoms the child was having, excessive thirst and urinating, and found out that it’s diabetes. To claim ignorance doesn’t explain it. This is a tragedy.

  13. matt says:

    This is indeed a tragedy. I am a person of faith, believe in God and believe God Himself, and believe that He is able to heal people from any disease, and often does.

    I also believe that He has given us minds, curiosities, abilities, and has enabled us to learn and develop expertise in science and medicine (and music and art and everything else we do).

    We should use everything God has given us to help, heal, and care for each other – all the while trusting Him. I mourn for this young girl, and for her family who is left behind to endure the pain of her loss and the pain of the consequences of their decision.

  14. I can only hope for humanity’s sake that we start to understand that these dark, superstitious, contra-survival traits exhibited by zealots are in fact a dead-end evolutionary branch. We can not hope to solve the great problems facing our planet and our species as long as this aberrant thinking is granted a misplaced respect.

    So I unapologetically state that I refuse to accept this line of faith-based rationalization as anything but primitive, counterproductive delusion. Wake up, humanity, if you care at all for your children and their children to follow. Speak out against dangerous foolish thought. It no longer has a place in the destiny of man. And in this sad case it resulted in yet another loss of innocent life.

  15. There is a misunderstanding of what G-d would direct us to do. Seeking medical treatment is not a sign of a lack of faith and in fact a physician can validate a healing when it has taken place but only when he has validated its existance in the first place.
    My prayers are that faith will not fail because of this misunderstanding.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have also been part of a “fight’n fundimentalist” church down in Alabama, and I can no more condone these ignoant parents behavior any more then I believe that Saddam Husain is the Satan…The thing I am hoping the Law follows up on, is the fact that this girls “parents” are getting taxfree assistance from the state because they are home schooling their kids. Now, if thats the case, then they are not only abusing the wellfare of those inocent kids, but also abusing the tax laws pertaining to the learning environment those kids are being brought up in.Their abusing the tax laws!….Either way those ignorent adults belong behind bars, Where they can no longer affect those children and expose them to that bible thumping retorical B.S. That child would have been better off being aborted in the first trimester, instead of haveing to go through 11 years of life just to have it end this way…. What a waist…Her sperm and egg doner need to rot in jail…..

  17. Ricky says:


    You should read this. Leilani Neumann is bat-shit insane.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Prison…without a doubt. The parents should also seek out psychiatric care while imprisoned.

  19. I could not agree more either. In fact this is pure stupidity and ignorance. I have faith as anyone else in this world but for someone ,in this case parents, to rely on prayers which is not proven effective to cure a common cold yet alone to cure Diabetes? I find this so preventable, a caveman could’ve known. Leilani and her husband deserve a 12-gauge to the face for their unwillingness to seek medical help at their disposal. All they had to do is bring her to the doctors and/or call 911. What is more sad than Madeline Neumann’s death is that, her parents let her die and did nothing effective to help sustain and recover from her heath crisis. Parents have a moral willingness and obligation to protect their children at all costs. Madeline’s parents did not have moral willingness to keep their child safe, therefore in the rest of their lives, branded by the news and the pointing fingers of society, let their mistake serve them well in an unforgiving shame and let their human inherited duties and responsibilities of being parents be revoked as long as they live in a world that prays they should be guilty of “stupidity murder” on their own child and they should be shot themselves and left to die and we should “pray” for them to get well.

  20. J. K. Luoma says:

    “But at a certain point you have to give over to science and can no longer rely solely on God to heal.”

    It is somewhat disturbing to follow the discussions of religious people. If the couple said their beliefs were directed by any other entity than the divinity you all think of as the creator, they would without a doubt be considered insane and treated properly. I know you’re not defending the couple but even the slight consideration that faith healing is a starting point for actual recovery is absurd.

    I don’t want to take hope from people but the delusions that religious communities offer are counterproductive. Just like science is our best guess of what the world is, doctors are our best chance of surviving illnesses. Not infallible or perfect but, nevertheless, the best we got.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Nice strawman William Wallace! That does not have one damn piece of relevance here so stop with the non sequitur.

    These parents should be incarcerated and the key thrown away. They chose to destroy their family when they decided to let their fantasies torture and claim the life of their daughter in whom they were intrusted to care. F’em – send the losers to prison and meet bubba.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Prison? We execute murderers in this country!

  23. Funny how William Wallace quoted himself as though his opinion being on a different site made it a more reputable source.

    I realize this issue is a couple months old now, and so it is out of the media limelight, but I am currently raising this tragic incident as evidence that the Christians on this site seem all too willing to ignore.

    This little girl needed an insulin shot. Not experimental medicine, not invasive surgery. Just a fucking insulin shot. It would have saved her life. Instead, these kooks chose to pray, and they lost their little girl.

    As added insult, they have filed a motion to have the case against them (2nd degree homicide) dismissed, based on a Wisconsin law that protects parents from criminal neglect when they pray rather than seek medical attention (Source accessed on 5.25.8).

    The geniuses who cry that this family shouldn’t be subjected to further torment are idiots. These people are the ones guilty of subjecting their family to torment. They are guilty of letting their perfectly treatable daughter die. Will we now allow them to follow the same “spiritual” guidelines to raise their other children?

    Rather than focus on the “rights” of parents, we need to reinforce the rights of children. I’m not advocating removal of all children from all homes, but regulating parental activity doesn’t seem too far a stretch, considering what these people have done.


  24. Joe says:

    Please…don’t spew your christain baloney…the parents are guilty and must be prosecuted and hopefully sent to jail! how do people believe in a man made religion…don’t change the subject and blame doctors…christian killed and terrorized more innocent people in the name of a fictitious, phoney man…what fools these mortals be!!!

  25. Kevin says:

    Read this if you’re sickened by these idiot parents:

    A website (helptheneumanns.com) was created for people to donate to their legal defense fund. I find it interesting that these cowards neglected to include a phone number or email address. Seems to me that they didn’t want to hear any negative feedback. All they provided was a PayPal link and an office mailing address so they could collect the loot. But I have provided for your entertainment pleasure their home address and phone number. Let them know what you think of their neglect.

    Dale & Leilani Neumann,
    9807 Maplewood Drive
    Schofield, WI 54476

  26. neggin says:

    So Kevin,
    Like everyone else who has posted, you have a strong opinion of the Neumanns for what they did to their one daughter. Do you give a damn at all about the welfare, sanity and quality of life of their TWO OTHER children who happen to still be very much alive and whom the courts (who actually KNOW something of the situation aside from what gets in the “news”) have determined should stay with their parents until they go to prison? You posted their address and phone number above. Do you not think that the other Neumann children have enough SH*T to deal with right now, that it’s okay for anyone to harass them in their own home?

  27. neggin says:

    So Kevin and everyone else,
    In Washington state, in October of 2008 no less, parents starved and dehydrated their 14 year old daughter for YEARS. They deliberately damaged her and caused her untold physical and psychological suffering. I did not make this up. Google it and inform yourselves. Carnation, Washington. Why did the Neumanns make international news and these parents, the Pomeroys, not so much? Funny thing: religion did not play into this horrendous crime. Why not find and post THEIR address and phone number? Are the Neumanns more evil than these people because they, the Neumanns, were religiously delusional and prayed and demonstrated bizarrely impaired decision-making during a crisis? Are the Neumanns so evil that their sins should be visited many times over on their surviving children, who have to cope with the loss of their sister, the impending loss of their parents,the media attention on their family AND the stigma of Kara’s death in the community where they live? A community that they really can’t leave right now because their parents are going to trial and then surely to prison? Kevin wants it to be all the worse for them; he wants more harassment for these kids. They do not deserve it. Let a jury decide about the parents, let the courts hand down justice and let the living get on with their lives as best they can.

  28. neggin says:

    A few of the posts I have read have really set me off.
    What is this about “The geniuses who cry that this family shouldn’t be subjected to further torment” being “idiots”? I guess I am that genius/idiot then. Whatever the parents have done, the rest of the family is already coping with – and they are MUCH MORE AFFECTED BY IT than any one of the self-righteous people who have posted so far. There are other people in the family who really deserve no further torment. There are other children, very much alive. Remember the aunt who TRIED to save the little girl though she was a good several states away. Her name has been widely enough published in connection with these events so there goes her privacy. Whatever the parents have done, the rest of the family is innocent of. Targeting the family for further harassment and judgementalism further punishes the innocent members of the family. As for the other children: the courts and Social Services, WHO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SITUATION THAT THE NEWS-ABSORBING PUBLIC DOES NOT, have determined they should remain with their parents until this case runs its course. The parents have at least done an adequate job of feeding, clothing, housing and providing for them SO FAR. With supervision the children are safer with their parents than in some damn foster home in our sucky and ineffectual foster care system, with strangers, where they are that much more likely to be neglected and abused – possibly subject to sexual abuse.

  29. Deadly Furby says:

    What if instead of being delusional christians, these were of a faith that had them doing the following:

    1. Slaughter a cow in their back yard
    2. Hold a candle vigil accompanied with masked dancing people dressed in the parts of their entities
    3. Stand up and shout for 60 seconds, every 12 minutes, in order to rid their child of the devil.
    4. Gut a chicken once every day for 14 days and drink its blood.

    Would you still accept their glorified story or would you say they are a bunch of f***ing nuts whose actions, or lack thereof, killed a child?

    Don’t be so knowing and holy about your particular religion. It’s just one of THOUSANDS that has followers of the same ilk.

  30. neggin says:

    In this nation of laws, privileges, rights and responsibility there should be no legal validity for a “weird beliefs defense”. Extremist Christian or otherwise. IF there is legal validity for a “weird beliefs defense”, well potentially there goes the effectiveness our legal system. Above I noted that the word “delusional” was used, which I also used in a previous post. This may relate the above post to my previous posts. If you read what I said in my previous posts you really cannot conclude that I belong to or am defending the Neumann’s religion. Or the weird beliefs that anyone anywhere might have which play into whatever crimes they might commit. Or that I accept their “glorified story”. But for Chrissake someone posted their phone number and address here. The whole family has been targeted for harassment, when it’s the parents who have been charged. By objecting to this I am in no way DEFENDING THEM FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE or sharing or defending their beliefs. They haven’t been tried, found guilty and sentenced YET. That is the court’s job, in this nation of laws, privileges, rights and responsibility. Seems that people want to scapegoat these parents in particular. Perhaps it’s more the appeal of having a scapegoat than outrage over the suffering they caused their child or the circumstances of the child’s death. Well there are plenty of scapegoats out there and some have done some truly evil things to their children.

  31. chris says:

    God said “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees…. their fruit will be for food and their leaves for MEDICINE”. God also said “DEATH and LIFE are in the power of the tongue. The tongue has the power to not only speak good and evil, but it also has the power to receive or reject what you put into your mouth to eat. Your body will reap the harvest of what you feed it. If you receive the right nourishment into your body, it shall reap the harvest of good health.” This isn’t some ignorant, convoluted misinterpretation of the bible… it’s right in there, black and white. Apparantly this woman’s faith didn’t come from reading the bible. This woman, at the very least, could have treated her child holistically like millions of diabetics do every day instead of using prayer as some orthodoxed cure. I don’t think religion is to blame here…. i think it starts with ignorance followed by unprecedented interpretations of the bible.

  32. Patrick says:

    I am a diabetic and Kara simply had too much sugar in her blood and her system had no way to flush it out. Before I was diagnosed, I went through the same symptoms that Kara did over a period of 3-5 days, maybe even up to 2 weeks. However in the end, I was very sick. My parents did not know what was wrong with me – and like with any common illness such as the flu or the common cold, they took me to a doctor. Which turned out to be the right thing to do because apparently I broke all kinds of records for blood-sugar levels.

    All she needed was a shot of insulin and she would be alive. I don’t even really consider that medical science. Is popping an Asprin such a deviation of faith? What makes the common cold any more worse than Type 1 diabetes?

    If they truly believe in God, they should have taken up with faith that God provided the tools for them to help their child, and it’s true that God will help those who help themselves.

  33. teddy says:

    If only you would read the book of Job you might understand why one might stand in faith!

  34. Brad says:

    There was an old man sitting on his porch watching the rain fall. Pretty soon the water was coming over the porch and into the house.

    The old man was still sitting there when a rescue boat came and the people on board said, “You can’t stay here you have to come with us.”

    The old man replied, “No, God will save me.” So the boat left. A little while later the water was up to the second floor, and another rescue boat came, and again told the old man he had to come with them.

    The old man again replied, “God will save me.” So the boat left him again.

    An hour later the water was up to the roof and a third rescue boat approached the old man, and tried to get him to come with them.

    Again the old man refused to leave stating that, “God will grant a miracle & save him.” So the boat left him again.

    Soon after, the man drowns and goes to heaven, and when he sees God he asks him, “Why didn’t you save me? I thought you would grand me a miracle and you have let me down.”

    God replied, “You idiot, I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I sent three boats after you!!”

    The moral of this story? Sometimes God sends doctors.

  35. g says:

    maybe we just pray for everything. hungry? don’t eat God will fill you up. thirsty? don’t drink water God will take care of that too!

  36. Leon says:

    well i would be carefull when reviewing this case, cause it isnt as clear as you imply it is.
    first they need to be examined by a qualified medical and health department to see if those charges are imputable and to be really carefull to leave their constitutional rights intactc.

    with that said i think that:
    Should they be put under psychological treatment? yep
    if they have any kids left around they should have supervision? yep
    should they be thrown at jail as an example? no, i really think thats not really needed… they lost a child already and making “examples” in my opinion is also a medieval act.

  37. Jason Alex says:

    Kevin says:

    “Read this if you’re sickened by these idiot parents:
    A website (helptheneumanns.com) was created for people to donate to their legal defense fund. I find it interesting that these cowards neglected to include a phone number or email address.”

    What I find interesting is why they did not pray for money. Ah, right – they are not dumb enough to trust god in monetary matters but are heartless enough to play russian roulette with the life of their kids. Scumbags.

  38. FrickinIdget says:

    Whoa. I never post to blogs, but…what can I say. While I feel that through all of these comments (and actually, the original, well-worded post), my opinion has more or less already been stated, I can’t resist the urge to comment on a)the sad situation itself and b)some of the, er, “interesting” comments which have been posted here.

    I happen to live within about 70 minutes of the area where this happened and it BLOWS MY MIND. I grew up in Kentucky, knew a LOT of people of the ‘faith-healing’ persuasion, and were this to have happened there, I wouldn’t have been shocked (upset, yep; angry, uh-huh; shocked, not a whit). To have this occur in what I thought was a generally more enlightened geographical area was a real wake-up call. My lesson? I guess one should never make assumptions based on geography: just as there are plenty of level-headed, rational people in my home state, there are idiots a-plenty here. Just because there aren’t (as far as I know) snake-handling cults near me doesn’t mean there aren’t people with strange beliefs – actually, there is some sort of religious ‘compound’ with strong echoes of Waco up near Shawano, also not far from here. Eek, is there anywhere in the world safe from religious extremism?

    Religion is fine. Be religious if you want – great, I’m happy for you, whether you’re Cristian, Jewish, Muslim, Obeah, Buddhist, Pagan, whatever. But there is a point where logic and practicality should prevail. Also, my own personal spiritual (not religious) beliefs strongly make my stomach turn at the thought of people pushing their beliefs onto others. Yes, even their own children. Believe what you want – it’s your right – but it’s also the right of others to believe what THEY want, whether or not they happen to agree with your viewpoint. I do not think that enforcing your religious or spiritual views on your own children is right. I believe, as a parent myself, that children should be educated and allowed to choose their own paths…but that’s not the real point. The real point is, simply, don’t let your kid die (or suffer, even) because YOU think your higher power is going to heal him/her. Perhaps your higher power has (and many posters have said this) sent medical science as the ‘healing miracle.’ It’s never right to let anyone suffer if you can do something about it!

    As to the many, many comments left by people – spouting rhetoric, posting links (ooh, impressive!), or quoting verse is not going to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with you. In fact, it may turn them off from considering your point of view altogether. Secondly (as a side thing), people are much more convincing when they employ at least borderline intelligible grammar / spelling (sorry, former Alabama “fight’n fundimentalist” – I agreed with your post but please learn English!)

    You’re all more than welcome to agree or disagree with me, but I think the court’s ruling was lax; on the other hand, the surviving siblings are innocent and should not suffer any more than they already have.

  39. Angelo says:

    OK. So these parents did everything God tells us to do. Trust, believe, and pray.

    What I don’t get is this. Why are people so outraged that this child now lives in a glorious heaven, filled with beauty and love beyond our comprehension, while we are still here, left to sit in judgment of these folks, in a place that is moving closer to hell by the minute.

    Madeline is beyond the reach of an evil government that conspires to destroy our way of life. She will never have to endure the pain of being the victim of our growing epidemic of child molestation or the lure of drug addiction.

    I had a daughter who died at the hands of a thoracic surgeon (who was a trusted neighbor of ours for 20 years)because there was a mis-diagnosis or her condition. He later said all we had to do was wait a day or two and she would have been fine without the trauma of surgery which he admitted killed her.

    Did he have to go through the hell of a criminal prosecution or a sentence for homicide? NO!

    America is becoming a nation of stupid slaves to the government. This governmnet leads the world in incompetence at every level except killing innocent human beings — deliberately!

    Like Madeline’s father said, “God is not done with this.”
    And I would add, God is not done with America.

  40. Anonymous says:

    … this is pure crap…

    i get that people turn to faith during hard times, but when your kid is not eating, throwing up, and has lost their strength, I would bring him or her over to the docter…

    and wasn’t one of the lessons in faith and praying that you don’t get instant results for what your praying for? thousands or maybe millions of dieing people or families who live on the streets probably pray to god everyday, and they’ll probably die in the end if they don’t get results *ew… i hate sounding like that.. frigging opera sounding crap..*

    I’d rather take a chance on a professional then on a prayer if me or my kid was spewing crap for a week