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Faith Healers Russel and Brandi Bellew Let 16-Year-Old Son Austin Die, Believing They Could 'Pray Away' Burst Appendix

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A mother and father who let their 16-year-old son die in agony, choosing to "pray away" his burst appendix at home and not take him to hospital, have been spared jail.

American "faith-healers" Russel and Brandi Bellew of Creswell, Oregon, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide on Tuesday and were sentenced to five years probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Their son, Austin Sprout, died in December from a burst appendix, suffering from excruciating appendicitis for a week before he finally died.

austin sprout

Austin Sprout, who died of appendicitis

His parents would not take him to hospital, where the inflammation could have been treated by removing his appendix.

Austin's father, Anthony, died in 2007 of sepsis, after he refused to seek treatment for an infected injury to his leg.

Brani later remarried Russel Bellew -- who was also widowed. 

Uncle Shawn Sprout, defended the congregation's practice of faith healing to local media, saying: "We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal us."

Social workers have removed the other six children from the Bellews home.

Last year, KVAL-TV reported that the family belonged to the General Assembly Church of the First Born, a congregation known for their practice of faith healing.

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