Two parents are accused of allowing their 10-month-old daughter to die from malnutrition and dehydration after refusing medical treatment because of their religious views.
Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari, both Christians, have been charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse.
Their daughter, Mary, died on Thursday last week.
Court documents revealed the couple had noticed Mary was looking thin a month before her death, but a distrust of doctors prevented them from seeking help.
In a Facebook post, Welch had written: “The righteous shall live by faith. It’s God who is sovereign over disease and those sorts of things and, of course, ultimately deaths.”
In another rant he had branded doctors “priesthoods of the medical cult”.
The couple, both 27, appeared shocked as they appeared in a court in Kent County, Michigan, where charges were read out to them.
They were told that they could face life in jail if convicted.
Fusari burst into tears, while Welch glared at the judge with his mouth wide open.
An affidavit signed ahead of their court appearance said: “During interviews with both parents, admissions were made that they were aware of Mary Welch’s skinny appearance and low weight for at least one month prior to this date.
“Tatiana Fusari admitted during the interview that they failed to reach out for medical help with their daughter for fear of having her children removed by Child Protective Services, lack of faith and trust in the medical services and religious reasons.”