After choosing prayer over modern medicine, and depriving their daughter of life-saving care, Travis and Wenona Rossiter will each spend 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the faith-healing death of their 12-year-old daughter, Syble Rossiter.
Late Friday, Judge Daniel Murphy imposed the 10-year sentences despite defense attorneys objections to sentencing guidelines. In Oregon, first-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Last November, an Oregon jury found Travis and Wenona Rossiter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the death of their daughter, Syble Rossiter, 12, who died of diabetes complications in February 2013, at the family home in Albany, Oregon.
The jury found the couple recklessly and negligently caused the death of their daughter, who died from diabetic ketoacidosis.
The Medical Examiner reports the girl died from complications of Type 1 diabetes, a treatable medical condition. Deputy District Attorney Keith Stein said on the day of her death, Syble Rossiter was extremely thirsty and dehydrated, vomited and urinated out everything she took into her system, and was so weak she couldn’t stand. Stein said:
This is a situation where she could have been saved quite easily by insulin and re-hydration.
At sentencing on Friday, a tearful, emotional Wenona Rossiter said:
There are no words to the pain a parent feels when she loses a child. … There is not a day that goes by that I wish I could go back, I would’ve known I could change something.
When you lose a child, you lose the biggest part of yourself.
While Travis Rossiter said his daughter “was one of the best things in my life.”
Travis and Wenona Rossiter belong to the Church of the First Born. The church rejects modern medicine, and believes that those who are sick should be prayed over and anointed with oil. The church teaches that if someone goes to a doctor for medical care, they are going against God.
In interviews with detectives, the parents said that, based on their beliefs, they wouldn’t have done anything different, claiming that doctors are for people who don’t believe strongly enough in God.