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12/12/2014 11:40 pm  #1


Deaths among Firstborn church: First baby, now mother

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Deaths among Firstborn church: First baby, now mother
June 08, 2000
By Cara Roberts Murez


A former Halsey resident whose baby died during a breech childbirth in 1998 died last week, apparently from complications that arose after childbirth last month. Darcie Bellew, 23, of Creswell died June 2 at home. She had delivered twins, a boy and a girl, on May 15 and 18 at home. The babies are fine.

Bellew was a member of Goshen's Church of the Firstborn, a religious group that eschews traditional medicine in favor of prayer.

The Lane County Sheriff's Office is investigating Bellew's death but does not plan to charge anyone. "There's not a concern here with any kind of crime," said Sgt. Byron Trapp. "She was an adult and it's entirely her choice if she didn't want to seek medical treatment." Trapp said family members delivered the babies, and Bellew was not attended by physicians or midwives.

"According to family, the births went well and there weren't any problems, at least immediately," Trapp said. She began feeling weak after the birth and was still feeling ill on June 2. She went to bed and died at 11:45 p.m. with family by her side, Trapp said. "She didn't die suddenly or unexpectedly. She died progressively," said Frank Ratti, deputy medical examiner in Lane County.

An autopsy was done Monday, and sheriff's deputies attended, but the medical examiner's office has not yet made a ruling on the cause of death. After a general autopsy, the medical examiner has ruled out a hemorrhage, a sepsis - which is a general infection that can start locally and invades the body - and tentatively ruled out the possibility of pulmonary embolus (blood clots.) However, these possibilities will still be examined microscopically in blood and tissue tests. Those test results should be completed in about a week. There was no obvious physical cause, Ratti said. "At this point, it seems to be a consequence of the childbirth," Ratti said.

Bellew was born in Pateros, Wash., and was the daughter of Lionel and Neva Shorkley Wilson. She graduated from Pateros High School in 1995 and worked in her parents' nursery prior to her marriage. She married Clifton Bellew in 1997 in Brewster, Wash., and moved to Halsey. The couple moved this past February to Creswell. Bellew enjoyed gardening, quilting, crafts, shopping, attending plays, cooking, walking and gospel music, according to an obituary that ran Wednesday in the Eugene Register-Guard. She also enjoyed spending time with her family. Surviving are her husband, son Chance and daughter Karley. Her parents, four brothers and five sisters also survive.

Bellew and her husband were investigated by the Linn County Sheriff's Office after their baby girl died during a breech childbirth on Nov. 25, 1998, in Halsey. The baby, Adrian Riley Bellew, died when her umbilical cord was pinched between her body and her mother's abdomen. Authorities determined that the baby would probably have lived if medical care had been sought before or during the birth.

District Attorney Jason Carlile declined to prosecute because the baby died while in the birth canal and before taking a breath, so it was considered stillborn. Under Oregon law a baby is not alive until after it takes a breath. The Bellews had not sought prenatal care for the first baby, and she was delivered at home by four midwives who were members of the family's church.

Bellew's husband, mother-in-law Shirley Bellew and Charles Porter, an elder in her church, were contacted Tuesday. They each declined to comment. A celebration of life service for Bellew was held Wednesday at Sandridge Cemetery near Lebanon.

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