Parents Charged in Death of Teen
Carlton parents who police say unsuccessfully tried to faith-heal their son back to health have been charged with second-degree murder.
The charges against Gregory P. Swezey, 47, and Garnet JaLea Swezey, 45, in Okanogan County Superior Court come nearly three years after Zachery, 17, died of a burst appendix at their home on March 18, 2009.
The family belongs to the Church of the First Born, which believes in faith healing. The day before Swezey died, elders from the church came to the Swezey home, prayed for him, and anointed him with olive oil.
The boy had been sick for two-and-a-half days before he died. His father told police that they first thought he was ill from a sandwich that didn’t taste right, and later believed he had the flu.
But charging documents, filed Feb. 2, also indicate that Greg Swezey told investigators he knew 10 to 15 minutes before his son died that he was going to die. He also told detectives that he asked his son if he wanted to go to the hospital, and Zach declined.