Attleboro case dropped
A grand jury inquiry into the whereabouts of a religious sect member's child quietly ended last month with the finding that Rebecca A. Corneau's 2001 pregnancy ended in stillbirth.
Corneau and her husband David, members of The Body, a small sect in Attleboro, Massachusetts, were jailed since February but never charged when they refused to give information on their child reportedly born late last year. Authorities claimed the child could be alive and hidden.
Prosecutors revealed this week that the investigation was dropped in June based on sworn statements from witnesses who saw David aid his wife in the birth of a stillborn boy. A medical expert reviewed the accounts and concluded they were consistent with a stillbirth. The couple was released from jail on June 18.
The Body has been under investigation and careful watch since 1999 when a former member took entries from the sect's journals to authorities. A lengthy probe began into the mysterious deaths of newborn Jeremiah Corneau and 11-month-old Samuel Robidoux.
The Corneaus' son Jeremiah died during childbirth in 1999. His parents said Jeremiah was stillborn, but authorities believed he would have lived if born in a hospital. The sect believes in home birth. No charges were made against the Corneaus. The father received immunity for revealing the graves of Jeremiah and Samuel.
Authorities placed 13 children from the sect into protective custody, including four of the Corneaus'. When Rebecca Corneau became pregnant in 2000, she was jailed for refusing medical care. The baby, a daughter, was put into state custody.
Samuel Robidoux's father was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Samuel's mother, Karen, will stand trial in September ...1
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