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Followers of Christ church members, who are the grandparents of children at center of court battle, return kids to mother

In an unusual child custody case, an Oregon mother got her daughters back from her own parents who are members of the Followers of Christ faith-healing church in Oregon City.

COURTESY FILE PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS   - Katie Duncan, pictured last year with her lawyer, Hank Pailet, returned to Clackamas County Court this year to get her three daughters back from her faith-healing parents in Oregon City.When Katie Duncan and her ex-husband filed for divorce in 2017, the couple signed over custody of their three daughters to Duncan's parents. For nearly four years she fought to get the girls back and claimed her parents wanted to keep the girls from leaving the faith-healing church. Duncan had married her now-ex-husband when she was 17, and they are former members of the church.

Cameras were not allowed in the Clackamas County courtroom on May 6 as Duncan's parents gave up their custody rights without giving a reason.

Former church member Linda Martin was expecting to testify for Duncan if the custody battle continued. Followers of Christ's church cemetery has graves of children who weren't taken to doctors. Five couples have been prosecuted.

"I think it would be very difficult for them to explain their religion and justify the doctrines and the things that go on in the church," Martin said.

COURTESY FILE PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS   - Various members of the Followers of Christ faith-healing church in Oregon City have been prosecuted for failing to provide medical care for their children.In an email, the lawyer for the parents of Duncan wrote:

"… the Kelleys' agreement to assume custody of their grandchildren in April 2017 was to care for the children until a time if and when the parents were able to resume custody. The Kelleys' goal was always the well-being of the children. It is unfortunate that the reunification of the children and their parents took as long as it did, but the Kelleys' and (presumably) the Duncans' goal of reunification was finally achieved today."


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