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Creswell Parents Arrested in Son’s Death

CRESWELL, Ore. — The parents of a 16-year-old Creswell teen who died after they didn’t get him medical treatment now face manslaughter charges.

After a nearly two-month-long investigation by the Lane County Sheriff’s, District Attorney’s and Medical Examiner’s offices, officials are saying Austin sprout died from a highly treatable condition, though they haven’t named the exact cause of death.

Lane County sheriff’s deputies arrested Brandi and Russel Bellew at their home in Creswell Friday afternoon on charges of second-degree manslaughter.

These charges include causing a dependent person’s death by neglect or maltreatment (i.e. failing to provide medical care).

In the Bellews’ case, they belong to a church that relies on faith healing, not conventional medical treatment.

“He had been suffering an illness for approximately a week preceding his death and medical professionals have determined that had medical care been provided during that period of illness that this would have been a treatable medical condition,” said Cpt. Byron Trapp.

The Bellews have five other children, who have been placed with relatives while the parents are housed in Lane County Jail.

If the Bellews go to trial, this will be the first case since Oregon ruled religious beliefs an inadequate defense against manslaughter.

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