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Exclusive: I-Team Uncovers What Prayer-Healing Family Told Police After Son’s Death

(credit: CBS) Walt Hunter
Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's ...
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By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A bail hearing is set for Friday for Catherine and Herbert Schaible, the faith-healing couple now charged with the murder of their own son. The CBS 3 I-Team has uncovered exclusive new information about what they told police just after his death.

The Schaibles are due at the Criminal Justice Center Friday morning and prosecutors are making efforts to keep them behind bars until their trial.

The couple offered no answers as they surrendered to detectives after being charged with third degree murder in the death of their 7-month-old son, Brandon, who perished inside of their Northeast Philadelphia home.

It is alleged that his pneumonia went untreated because of their religious beliefs.

The arrest affidavit of the couple shows how they explained to detectives how even as Brandon grew ever worse, they prayed but never sought medical help.

Mrs. Schaible’s statement to police was detailed in the affadavit: “Her son was sick over the week with diarrhea. She became concerned when the infant’s breathing was labored. They called their pastor to pray for the child. They didn’t seen medical treatment because they believed in God.”

The symptoms became worse over a week, Brandon’s father allegedly told detectives, and his breathing was labored. He then explained how they attempted to heel the baby through prayer because that is their religion.

“It was not any intent on behalf of Mr. Schaible for this happen to their son,” said Bobby Hoof, Herbert Schaible’s attorney.

At the time of their murder arrest the Schaible’s were free on probation following an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the almost identical death of their two-year-old son Kent in 2009.

The prosecutor at the time had tried unsuccessfully to get the court’s to guarantee that the Schaible’s would be carefully supervised to make sure they provided proper medical care for their children.

“I knew that something like this could easily have happened because I knew at their sentencing they were not going to follow the judge’s instruction,” said assistant district attorney Joanne Pescatore.

Whatever the judge’s decision on keeping the Schaibles behind bars to await trial, their seven remaining children ranging in ages from 8 to 17 will remain under the care of the city’s Department of Human Services.

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