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Alayna Wyland, Infant Child Of Faith-Healing Parents, Returned Home

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By Steve Mayes, The Oregonian
Religion News Service

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) A Clackamas County judge ruled Friday (Sept. 24) that an infant who faced blindness from an untreated medical condition can return home while her parents prepare for trial on charges of criminal mistreatment.

Circuit Judge Douglas V. Van Dyk imposed several conditions on Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, who are members of an Oregon City church that rejects medical care and practices faith healing.

Although the girl will live with the Wylands, the state Department of Human Services will retain temporary custody and monitor Alayna's health and medical treatment.

The nine-month-old girl has been in foster care and receiving court-ordered medical treatment since her parents' arrest two months ago.

The Wylands, who have unsupervised visits with Alayna on weekdays, brought her to Friday's hearing. The unsightly baseball-sized mass had largely disappeared, and the infant's previously hidden eye was plainly visible.

While the girl's condition has improved, it is not clear how much vision will return, said John P. Anderson, a state attorney representing the Department of Human Services. "It's hard to tell what's going on," he said.

Anderson said the girl has 20/60 vision in her right eye and 20/1,000 in her left eye and may face years of treatment.

Anderson and local prosecutors had opposed Alayna's return to the Wylands, saying it would be more difficult to track the child's well-being and monitor her medical needs.

The Wylands agreed to all conditions imposed by the judge, including "this court's order regarding medical care," but the legal battle over Alayna is far from over.

The state Department of Human Services will seek legal custody at an Oct. 12 hearing, and a trial date in the Wylands' criminal case will be set Oct. 7.

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