INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The civil trial involving a former Lee's Summit, Mo., police officer is underway in Independence, Mo. The parents of Misty Mansfield Horner, who died after a month-long illness following the stillborn birth of her daughter, is suing her husband, Caleb Horner, and others in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Prosecutors have declined to file criminal charges against Horner, Misty's husband, because they weren't convinced that Misty wanted to seek medical treatment. Misty's parents, Darrell and Gail Mansfield, disagree. They said she was brainwashed believe Caleb and others are responsible for her death.
Misty's best friend, Tina Moore, testified that she was in the room when Misty gave birth to a stillborn daughter. Moore said she, too, believes Caleb is responsible for Misty's death.
Caleb was a Lee's Summit, Mo., police officer. He and his brother, John, began a religious organization that does not believe in hospitals or modern medicine. According to Moore, their religion required Misty to be submissive to Caleb at all times. In December 2006, Misty went into labor. According to Moore, Caleb hired two midwives who were unqualified to deliver a baby Moore said they asked her to look up information in guide books. According to Moore, Misty was in labor for days. The baby, named Sydney, was breached and did not survive the delivery.
Moore said Caleb's brother used scissors to perform an episiotomy. Misty later became infected with sepsis. According to Moore, Misty's family and friends begged Caleb to take her to the doctor, but Caleb refused. Misty died 31 days later.
"Misty could not get medical treatment because Caleb would not let her," Moore said. "It was decided among him and his family that she was going to die."
Misty's parents said they were kept away from their daughter, but when they finally saw her, it was apparent that she was dying. They asked Caleb Horner to take her to the hospital, but they say he refused, calling the situation “God’s will.” Witnesses said at one point, Misty put her clothes on to go to the hospital, but was convinced that she just needed to believe in God’s healing power.
During her testimony, Moore said Caleb blamed the baby's death on Misty's family, calling it "generational sin" and that it was God's way of punishing them.
One of the midwives has settled out of court with Misty's family for $300,000. The other midwife and Caleb's family are a part of the civil lawsuit that is expected to end this week.