An Idaho sheriff’s daunting battle to investigate when children of a faith-healing sect die

Dan Sevy, a member of the Followers of Christ church, testifies in August before an Idaho legislative panel reviewing the state’s faith-healing exemptions. (Betsy Z. Russell / Spokane Spokesman Review)
The coroner’s van pulled into the driveway sometime after midnight, and for a moment — her dead daughter in her arms — LaTisha Shippy hated God.

By Nigel Duara | Los Angeles Times

“I had hate in my heart for him,” Shippy said. “I questioned my faith, and why this was happening. You don’t lose four children and not have some of that.”

Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris found Shippy in bed and the baby’s body, cleaned and dressed, on a changing table in another room. “It was apparent that she had been dead for a while, as the skin was slipping off the entire torso of the baby,” DeGeus-Morris wrote in a coroner’s report.

The baby had been dead inside Shippy’s womb for days, DeGeus-Morris concluded, and yet Shippy had sought no medical help when she’d felt the nearly full-term baby stop moving. She and her fellow Followers of Christ consider professional medicine an engine of the devil. Instead, she had prayed.

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