Mother convicted in girl's death

Relied on prayer, not medical care

By Robert Imrie
Associated Press / May 23, 2009
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WAUSAU, Wis. - A mother accused of praying instead of seeking medical help for her dying 11-year-old daughter was found guilty yesterday of second-degree reckless homicide.

A Marathon County jury deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before convicting Leilani Neumann, 41, of Weston. She faces up to 25 years in prison, but no sentencing date has been set.

She remained free on bond.

Neumann's daughter Madeline died from untreated diabetes on March 23, 2008, surrounded by people praying for her. When she stopped breathing, her parents' business and Bible study partners called 911.

Prosecutors contend that a reasonable parent would have known something was gravely wrong with Madeline and that her mother killed her by ignoring obvious symptoms, such as her inability to walk or talk.

"Obviously, there will be an appeal," defense lawyer Gene Linehan said after the verdict.

Neumann's husband, Dale, faces the same charge and was scheduled to stand trial in July.