Couple Says Not Guilty for Manslaughter

ALBANY, Ore. — An Albany couple charged for first and second degree manslaughter is pleading not guilty.

Albany police say Wenona and Travis Rossiter did not provide medical care to their 12-year-old daughter Syble, who died in February. The Medical Examiner’s Office says the girl died from diabetic complications.

The Rossiters were arraigned at the Linn County Courthouse on Friday, where deputies escorted them into the courtroom. The couple remained quiet and appeared sad. Members of the church the couple attend were also present in the courtroom. Wenona Rossiter smiled when she saw some of them enter the room.

Albany police say the Rossiters are members at Church of the First Born, a group that says on its website that it believes in healing through prayer. However, Captain Eric Carter with Albany Police says he does not know if the church’s beliefs had anything to do with the Rossiters not providing medical care for their daughter.

“The investigation clearly showed that this was a condition any reasonable parent should have been aware of; should have provided medical care and treatment, and they chose not to,” Carter said. “I don’t know what the financial situation was at the time of the family, and I don’t know what factors did or didn’t play into that other than they didn’t provide care for their child.”

The couple’s bail was dropped from $50,000 to $10,000 each, and if they decide to post bail, they will not be allowed contact with their other children, who are in protective custody.

Their next court date is scheduled for Sept. 30.

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