'God doesn't make mistakes' says mother charged over death of her jaundiced baby

Joshua Barry Piland and Rachel Joy Piland opted to pray for their daughter after denying her treatment for jaundice, leading to her deathLansing Police Department

A Michigan couple has been charged after they denied jaundice treatment for their newborn daughter, leading to her death.

Rachel Joy Piland, 30, reportedly refused treatment for her daughter, saying, "God...makes no mistakes". Rachel and her 36-year-old husband, Joshua Barry Piland, were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of their three-day-old daughter, who was born 6 February.

Detective Peter Scaccia said during a court hearing that Rachel's brother notified police that a baby had died at the couple's home.

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The midwife who attended the birth of the baby girl, named Abigail, said the infant appeared jaundiced the day after she was born.

She advised the mother to take the baby to the emergency room and warned her that the baby could suffer brain damage or die if she did not receive proper care.

"Rachel declined the seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes," Scaccia said. "She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine."

Rachel then cancelled subsequent appointments with the midwife, the New York Daily News reported.

Scaccia said that two days after Abigail was born, she was not eating and coughed up blood. The mother allegedly placed the newborn "near a window wearing just a diaper utilizing a hair dryer to keep her warm," he said.

Rachel's mother, Rebecca Kerr, also warned her daughter that Abigail's skin was off. "Rachel told Rebecca about (the midwife's) concern," the detective told the court. "And then Rachel went to listen to sermons."

Medical help

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According to the Lansing State Journal, Kerr urged her daughter to seek medical help but "Rachel would not allow her". On the morning of 9 February, Kerr noticed her granddaughter was not eating or breathing well and blood was coming out of her nose.

Scaccia said the mother found the newborn "lifeless and not breathing" in a bouncy seat around 11am. The baby was then brought to her father, who was unable to revive her.

The couple brought the couple upstairs to "pray for her" and invited friends to join them to pray for her resurrection. The pair did not call police, Scaccia said. Police later arrived at the home and found people praying for the dead infant.

Abigail was found to have died from unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus, conditions related to jaundice, according to a medical examiner. "He said if treated, most likely she would've been alive," Scaccia testified.

The couple was charged with involuntary manslaughter and released on a $75,000 bond on 21 September. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison each. They are scheduled to appear 5 October in Lansing's 54A District Court.

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