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Police: Couple Let Sick Child Die Because Of Religion

Authorities say Jonathan and Grace Foster refused to get medical care for their sick 2-year-old daughter who died on Nov. 8, 2016, in Upper Tulpehocken Township, Pennsylvania.

The Fosters were charged this week with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of their child, Ella Grace, notes WPVI.

A local funeral home contacted the police after the Fosters contacted the business about burying their dead toddler.

When police arrived at the Fosters' home, they found the child's corpse on a couch.

According to authorities, the Fosters said their daughter had been sick the night before and had trouble breathing. She reportedly stopped breathing completely the next morning.

The Fosters said they do not believe in doctors or medications, and that their child's death was God's will.

The couple has six other children, and attend the nondenominational Faith Tabernacle Church.

"It's hard for many us including myself to understand. I'm old enough now that I have two grandchildren who are 1 and 2. To me, it's incomprehensible," Berks County District Attorney John Adams said at a press conference.

The couple were released on an unsecured bail, and are at home with their other children.

According to Adams, the Fosters have agreed to take their other children to doctors if they become sick, notes The Associated Press. Child welfare officials will monitor the Fosters to make sure they keep their word.

At least 10 children who belong to the same sect have died from sicknesses that could have been cured with medical care, reports AP. A forensic pathologist said Ella Grace had a 95 percent chance of survival if she had received standard antibiotics for her pneumonia.

"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," Adams said.

According to Adams, the state does not have a religious exception for parents who don't provide medical care for their children.

"I hope that the members of this church understand that authorities, such as our office, will not tolerate children not receiving medical care," Adams added.

Sources: WPVI, AP via US News & World Report / Photo credit: Alex Promios/Flickr

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