Albany parents held in daughter’s death

LBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — The parents of a 12-year-old girl who died in February were arrested on manslaughter charges by Albany police Thursday morning after allegedly not providing necessary medical treatment.

Travis Rossiter, 39, and Wenona Rossiter, 37, allegedly withheld medical attention for their daughter, Syble. The girl died Feb. 5 at their home in the 500 block of SE Queen Avenue.

Syble Rossiter died in February 2013 at the age of 12. Her parents face manslaughter charges in her death. (Undated photo, AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home)
Syble Rossiter died in February 2013 at the age of 12. Her parents face manslaughter charges in her death. (Undated photo, AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home)

Investigators looked into the circumstances of the case for months before deciding on the charges.

“The 12-year-old had a treatable medical condition and the parents did not provide adequate and necessary medical care to that child. And that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of her on February 5 of this year,” said Albany Police Capt. Eric Carter.

When asked if she would have survived if she had been treated, he said, “That’s what I was briefed on. Yes.”

Linn County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goby told KOIN 6 News the girl died from complications of Type 1 diabetes.

Carter said the family belongs to the Church of the First Born near Brownsville.

A church website cites a verse from James in the Bible: “If any be sick, call for the elders of the church. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord.”

“I don’t know to what degree this couple believed in that or practiced that,” Carter said.

In 2012, an Oregon City couple — who also belongs to the Church of the First Born — pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after their son died of an infection caused by a burst appendix. They were sentenced to five years probation.

Neighbor Catherine Dewall remembers Syble as a quiet girl with “long blonde hair, always had the long braids,” who loved riding her pink bike.

“She seemed shy to talk to people because they picked apples out of my yard,” Dewall told KOIN 6 News.

“I wouldn’t want anyone I know to believe like that, because that’s why we have doctors and medical,” Dewall said. “Some things are just curable.”

The Rossiters, who have two other children, are being held in the Linn County Jail and each face charges of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. They will face a judge for the first time on Friday.

DHS stepped in to look after their children while the parents are in jail.

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