Third-degree murder charge for Rhawnhurst couple who lost second child to faith-healing death

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has filed third-degree murder charges against Herbert and Catherine Schaible for the death of their 7-month-old son, Brandon.

Brandon died in April from bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and strep, according to the medical examiner’s report, bringing scrutiny to the Rhawnhurst couple; they lost 2-year-old son Kent in 2009 to bacterial pneumonia. In both cases, the couple relied on prayers, rather than medical attention, to heal their children.

The Schaibles were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2009 and sentenced to 10 years on probation, with a condition to seek medical attention for their other children when they were sick. They were still on probation at the time of Brandons death, and admitted the child showed signs of illness several days beforehand.

“Instead of caring and nurturing him they ultimately caused his death by praying over his body instead of taking him to the doctor,” D.A. Seth Williams said of the case.

The Schaibles have also been charged with conspiracy, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.