Friend: Religion Led to Woman's Death, Stillbirth

KMBC, Kansas City/January 18, 2007

Lee's Summit, Missouri — A friend of a former police dispatcher who died after childbirth said her friend was caught up in a cult-like religion that contributed to her death and the stillbirth of her child, KMBC's Dan Weinbaum reported.

Misty Horner died on Jan. 9, apparently of septic shock. The month before, she had delivered a stillborn child in her Lee's Summit home.

Tina Moore, a close friend of Misty Horner, said her death and the death of the baby is a direct result of the religious beliefs of Caleb Horner, Misty's husband and a Lee's Summit police officer. Moore said she knows this because she was there.

Moore said her friend wanted to find a way to be closer to God, and she found Caleb Horner.

"She met Caleb and thought he was strong in his faith, and she was misled and brainswashed into believing what they believe," Moore said.

As part of the faith, Horner and his family don't believe in medical intervention . So when it was time for his wife to give birth to her first child, it was done at home without a doctor, a nurse or a midwife.

Moore said her friend went into labor in late November.

"Misty had contractions from Saturday all the way through to Friday," Moore said. "A whole week."

At the end of that week, on Friday, Dec. 1, the baby came out breach and was hanging out backward, caught at the neck, Moore said.

"(Caleb) didn't know what the heck he's doing — he has no medical training, he's not a doctor, he doesn't know what he's doing. He takes the scissors and cuts her and performs an episiotomy. The baby finally comes out, and the baby's dead," Moore said.

After that, she said her friend became ill suffering from septic shock.

"The medical examiner told Caleb, 'Caleb I understand your beliefs. All it will take is an antibiotic and Misty will be OK,' and Caleb said no," Moore said.

A month later, Misty Horner died.

Caleb Horner is on bereavement leave from the Lee's Summit Police Department.

KMBC knocked on Horner's door, but no one answered.

A Lee's Summit Police representative said they are grieving with the family, and that Horner's personal religious beliefs have not interfered with his officer duties. The police representative said Horner has been an exemplary employee.

Moore disagrees.

"For him to be allowed to protect and serve the community is a serious issue in my eyes," she said.

Weinbaum reported that there is no ongoing criminal investigation in the case. The medical examiner's office has not released the results of its investigation.

Family attorney Durant Abernathy is pressing for the district attorney's office to look into the case.

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