Daughter dies, faith-healing parents on trial

Syble Rossiter was 12 when she died in 2013

Travis Rossiter and his wife Wenona Rossiter are on trial for the death of their daughter from untreated diabetes, Nov. 7, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Travis Rossiter and his wife Wenona Rossiter are on trial for the death of their daughter from untreated diabetes, Nov. 7, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The trial of Travis and Wenona Rossiter, accused of depriving their daughter of life-saving medical care for diabetes, continued in Albany Friday.

The Rossiters are members of the Church of the First Born, whose members believe traditional medical treatment is sinful.

Their daughter, Syble Rossiter, was 12 when she died in February 2013.

Their lawyers argued their beliefs should be excluded as prejudicial – that they should be tried for their actions rather than their beliefs.

In May, Judge Daniel Murphy ruled that if their beliefs compelled their actions, that’s a form of motive evidence.

The trial began earlier Tuesday and is expected to last through Nov 14.  The Rossiters, who have separate counsel, face manslaughter charges.

In court Friday, Sybile’s 17-year-old brother testified he was among those with her when she died. He said he did not hear his parents debate whether to call a doctor.

The 911 call was played in court:

Dispatcher: 911, what is your emergency?
Family friend: We have a 12-year-old child who we think is deceased.
Dispatcher: Oh, my word! You think, but you’re not sure?
Family friend: We’re pretty sure.

Family members who were with Sybile when she died described her as sick, throwing up and underweight.

Defense attorneys begin their case on Monday.

KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.

 

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