Couple who allegedly don’t believe in medicine failed to get dying newborn to hospital, police say

A Pennsylvania couple have been arrested and charged in connection with the death of their newborn son after police said they were unable to get him to the hospital because they don’t believe in modern medicine.

Amy Hoenigke, 34, and her husband Drew Hoenigke, 31, were taken into custody on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the well-being of children, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Their friend, Bridget Mekes, 47, was also arrested on the same charges after investigators learned she was present for the baby’s home birth on January 14.

State police responded to a statement from the Sullivan County home on Jan. 20 after Amy Hoenigke called 911 and said she found her son dead in a bassinet, the criminal complaint says. The military personnel who arrived found the newborn already showing signs of decomposition and determined that he had died about three days before the emergency call was made.

Police also found “tea tea and a container of burnt herbs” next to the cradle, the complaint said.

Amy Hoenigke told investigators that her son began showing signs of struggling to breathe and “turning blue” shortly after his birth, according to the complaint.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that “In an unsuccessful attempt to help a child, Amy Hoenigke and Mekes used a peppermint oil brewer and attempted to create a makeshift breathing tube from a water bottle.”

“Without proper medical care, the baby died about two days after birth,” he said.

Authorities said Amy Hoenigke wrote to a friend about her son’s situation and at one point said Mekes spent 12 hours trying to get the baby to breathe. The criminal complaint alleges that Amy Hoenigke tried to use mint and “steam teas” to treat her son and used a plastic straw to try and clear his nasal passages.

When asked by the investigators why she did not take the child to a medical facility, she replied that she and her husband did not believe in modern medicine and live an unconventional life where time frames and days of the week are not recognized, the complaint says. . They also feared that their 2-year-old daughter would be taken away. The little girl was also born at home and does not have a birth certificate, the complaint says.

Shapiro said experts believe the parents’ actions “caused unnecessary suffering” to the child “and made it impossible for him to survive.”

“These people have neglected their responsibility to care for an innocent child,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Due to the fact that he was not given proper medical care, this child suffered needlessly and died.”

The criminal complaint also alleges that police found a makeshift wooden coffin at Hoenigke’s home. Drew Hoenigke allegedly told investigators that the ground was frozen with snow, so they couldn’t bury the child.

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