Family members defend faith-healing couple

Family members defend faith-healing couple »Play Video
The uncle of Alayna Wyland, Garret Crone, testified Thursday in defense of her parents Tim and Rebecca Wyland who are accused of neglecting their daughter's medical condition.

OREGON CITY, Ore. – Family members of a faith-healing couple accused of neglecting their baby girl's medical needs defended them in court Thursday.

They were the first witnesses called in the defense of Tim and Rebecca Wyland. The Wylands' daughter, Alayna, was taken from her parents by the state for treatment of a growth the size of a baseball formed over her left eye. The girl is now in the custody of her parents and is doing much better after receiving treatment.

The child's aunt and uncle, Jamie and Garrett Crone, were there when the Department of Human Services took custody of Alayna last summer when she was 7-months-old.

Garrett Crone has known Tim Wyland all his life. Like Wyland, he grew up in The Followers of Christ Church. Many members choose prayer over modern medicine.

Crone testified he was at the Wyland’s home when a DHS case worker briefly examined Alayna and then told her parents he was taking custody of their daughter.

DHS opened a case on Alayna after an anonymous caller reported a growing red mark on her left eye.

Crone told jurors Tim Wyland repeatedly offered to take the baby to the hospital but Clackamas County deputies and DHS would not listen.

"He just said, 'Can't we take her? I would like to take her. I mean, we’ll take her. … The tall cop said, 'No.' And Tim said, 'How come?' And he said, 'Because you go to that church. … He (Wyland) said, 'Yeah, but we can take her.' And he said, 'No, we know how you believe.'"

Those statements, however, contradict what court records say about deputies’ conversations with Tim Wyland. Deputies reported he said he would never take Alayna to a doctor even if she had a life-threatening injury.

Under cross-examination Crone admitted he has never taken either of his two children to doctors.

Alayna's aunt and uncle also said there were conversations about how the growth on her eye was a birthmark that would likely go away.

"They’re very protective of her," said Jamie Crone. "They take very good care of her."

The Crones also testified the choice of using medicine instead of prayer is left up to each individual church member, which is a direct contradiction to what other members have told KATU News. Those members say they were shunned by the church and other followers if they dared to see a doctor.

Under questioning Garrett Crone denied that the church dictates to members not to see a doctor and that the church punishes those who do.

The Wylands are charged under state law that requires parents to get kids to a doctor whenever they are seriously ill or injured.

Court is not in session Friday. Closing arguments should be made Monday and then the jury will start deliberating Tuesday.