A Pennsylvania couple was arrested and charged after their two-year-old daughter died from untreated pneumonia.
Authorities were alerted about the death of Ella Grace Foster on Nov. 8 by a funeral home, ABC 6 reported. The parents, Jonathan and Grace Foster, reached out to the funeral home about arranging a burial for their daughter.
When police arrived at the couple’s Upper Tulpehocken Township home they found the little girl’s body on a couch.
The Fosters said Ella started showing signs she was sick two days before her death. Her symptoms included lethargy and a sore throat. The toddler’s breathing eventually became labored, then rapid. Ella died in her father’s arms, the outlet reported.
According to an affidavit, the Fosters said they were members of Faith Tabernacle church in Mechanicsburg and due to their faith they don’t believe in medical treatment or doctors. They also said their daughter’s death was “God’s will.”
The couple, who have six other young children, was arrested and charged Wednesday with child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, they could face the maximum possible sentence of 12.5 years in prison.
“Our laws recognize that you have a duty to care for your child’s health and welfare, and we cannot justify a parent not seeking health care for their children when their children are ill,” Berks County District Attorney John Adams told NBC San Diego.
“I hope that the members of this church understand that authorities, such as our office, will not tolerate children not receiving medical care.”
A forensic pathologist told investigators that if Ella had received proper treatment by a doctor she would have had a 95 percent chance of surviving.
The Fosters were released on unsecured bail and are now back home with their children. The couple told authorities that if any of their other children get sick they will now seek medical treatment. Child welfare officials will be monitoring the parents to make sure they follow through.