Murder charge for Schaibles, who prayed over baby who died

Herbert and Catherine Schaible. File Photos
Herbert and Catherine Schaible. File Photos

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, the Northeast Philadelphia couple who prayed over their 7-month-old old baby Brandon last month instead of taking him to the doctor for bacterial pneumonia, have been charged with murder. Brandon died a few days after symptoms appeared.

This charge comes four years after Kent, their 2-year-old son, also died when the parents refused to get him medical attention for the same issue that killed Brandon. The couple belongs to a church that does not believe in medical care.

District Attorney Seth Williams today called the case a “tragedy.”

“Instead of caring and nurturing him,” Williams said at a press conference today, “they ultimately caused his death by praying over his body instead of taking him to the doctor.

The Schaibles were still on probation for Kent’s death from 2009. They have been charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child for Brandon’s April 18 death.

Williams said Brandon could easily have been treated with antibiotics. The couple admitted to police they chose to pray instead of seeking medical help after symptoms arose.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore called Brandon’s case “eerily similar” to Kent’s case. The day Brandon died, she got a call at home.

“I knew something like this could have easily happened,” Pescatore said today.

Pescatore’s referring to the fact that after Kent’s death, the Schaibles were convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and were sentenced to 10 years probation. As a condition of their probation, they were ordered to seek medical help if any of their children were sick. Pescatore said she wasn’t confident they would.

The Schaibles seven other children have been taken from their parents.


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