Ala. lab lost key evidence in praying mom's case

August 3, 2011 - 3:29 PM

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama mother whose 17-year-old son became sick with flu-like symptoms chose to pray for her son to recover rather than take him to a doctor.

When Kay Burdette's son died in 2008, prosecutors charged her with manslaughter. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges in June and avoided prison, in part because authorities lost a tissue sample that was crucial to proving that her son died of bacterial pneumonia, which is generally treatable.

Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese says the case was difficult from the beginning, and wondered how much more Burdette could be punished.

Burdette and her son were members of the charismatic, non-denominational Sandhill Baptist Church near Auburn. Burdette told investigators she trusted in God for physical healing and both she and Jesse prayed for his recovery.