Minister arrested after autistic child dies during church healing ritual

Church healing ritual 
By: Sarah Weiss 

An autistic child died while he was going through a church healing ritual, according to reports in the news media.

A minister has been arrested on charges stemming from the healing ceremony that ended in the death of the young autistic child.

Ray Hemphill was arrested in the Church of the Apostolic Faith, a small church in a mall that houses a pizzeria and a dry cleaners, the local newspaper reported this week.

Hemphill's brother, David, is the pastor of the church. The pastor said that the boy died mysteriously overnight during the Friday night prayer service.

During the one-hour session, the child's feet and hands were restrained by his mother and other members of the church while intensely praying, the pastor's wife said.

The boy stopped breathing, David Hemphill said. Although the results of the autopsy were not disclosed, Ray Hemphill was being held in the Milwaukee County Jail on suspicion of physical abuse of a child, a felony. An investigation into the death continues.