Faith-healing couple charged with third-degree murder in infant's death

The Philadelphia Inquirer/May 22, 2013

Four years after their two-year-old son died because they declined to seek medical treatment, a Northeast Philadelphia faith-healing couple has been charged with third-degree murder in the death of their seven-month-old son.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible are accused of not getting treatment for their seven-month-old son, Brandon Scott Schaible -- choosing instead to pray over him -- when he became sick last month and eventually died April 18. The couple was already on probation after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of two-year-old, Kent.

In announcing the murder charge, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said the parents disobeyed the conditions of their probation requiring them to get medical attention and follow medical advice if any of their children were sick.

"The death of seven-month-old Brandon Schaible is a tragedy and sadly there is only one reason for it, the criminal action of his parents," Williams said.

Brandon Schaible began showing difficulty breathing, irritability and decreased appetite three days before he died of bacterial pneumonia, the same thing that killed Kent, according to an autopsy.

The Schaibles are members of First Century Gospel Church in Juniata Park which does not believe in or accept medical care. Defense attorneys for the couple could not immediately be reached for comment, but Herbert and Catherine Schaible are expected to surrender to police today.

Williams said his office would seek steep bail in hopes of keeping them behind bars. Their seven children have been temporarily placed in foster custody.

In addition to murder, Herbert and Catherine Schaible are both charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. They also face a probation violation hearing next month.

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