PORTLAND, Ore. – A Clackamas County grand jury has indicted an Oregon City couple on charges of criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old son, who died from a medically treatable condition during attempts to heal him with prayer.

The parents, Jeffrey Dean Beagley and Marci Rae Beagley, are members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, which practices faith healing.

Neil Jeffrey Beagley died at his grandmother’s home June 17, a week after first complaining of stomach pain and shortness of breath. As Beagley’s family and several dozen church members prayed for what church members call spiritual healing, the teenager deteriorated and died, according to police and medical investigators.

An autopsy determined that Beagley died from a blockage in his urinary tract, an intensely painful condition that caused his kidneys to stop extracting urea from his bloodstream and triggered heart failure. The medical examiner concluded that the blockage, which may have been congenital, could have been easily treated. Family members told investigators it was Neil Beagley’s decision to choose faith healing over medical treatment, a choice he was legally entitled to make.

Neil Beagley’s death came just four months after the boy’s infant niece died in similar circumstances. The boy’s parents are scheduled to appear Friday in Clackamas County Circuit Court.


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