Candace Newmaker, an adopted girl who was 10 years old, died in 2000 after rebirthing to help her deal with the trauma of being taken away from her parents. They wrapped her from head to toe in flannels to make her look like she was in a womb for 70 minutes and told her to let go. It was thought that Candace would be “reborn” if she could get out of the wrap.
There were four people holding her down while she was wrapped up, and their weight added up to more than 607 pounds.
Candace cried, screamed, and threw up. She told the therapist that she couldn’t breathe and couldn’t get away. They made fun of her when she begged them to help her get away. The therapist said things over and over, like “You want to die? “Okay, then just die.”
The girl was cyanotic and not breathing when the therapists finally took her off the blanket. They tried to bring the girl back to life and called for help. She passed away the next day. That’s what the M.E. said caused her de*ath: “asphyxiation.”
Therapists Convicted in Candace’s De*ath
The session was recorded on video and was used to find the therapists guilty of reckless child abuse that caused de*ath and give them prison terms of 16 to 28 years. Some of the videotapes have been typed up. That can be read by clicking here, but be aware that it is pretty hard to read.
Controversial Therapy for Reactive Attachment Disorder
Rebirthing therapy was created by Leonard Orr in the 1970s and is a controversial way to treat reactive attachment disorder. Candace was diagnosed with this disorder because she didn’t bond normally with her parents as an infant and because she lived in an institution before she was adopted.
Some of the symptoms of this disorder are similar to those of PTSD and borderline personality disorder. The DSM-IV lists the disorder under “other disorders of infancy, childhood, or adolescence.”
The controversial treatment was banned in the state of Colorado one year after Newmaker’s de*ath. Candace’s Law was signed by then-Colorado governor Bill Owens.
Other Unusual De*aths
Jennifer Strange died in 2007 from drinking too much water. Strange was in a radio station-sponsored race to see how much water a person could drink without having to go to the bathroom. The winner got a Wii, which she wanted to give to her three children.
She drank a lot of water during the “Hold Your Pee for a Wii” contest, which lasted four hours.
Strange told someone else in the competition that she felt “terrible” before she left. She wasn’t by herself. A lot of contestants dropped out because they were worried about their health after drinking the water. The DJs laughed and made jokes about the 20 contestants who had medical emergencies.
Strange’s body was discovered in her apartment a few hours after the race. The strange person “overdosed” on water.
After Jennifer’s de*ath, Strange’s family sued for wrongful de*ath. In the case, they were given $16.5 million. Billy, Jennifer’s husband, said in the lawsuit that the radio station knew months before the contest that drinking so much water could be dangerous but didn’t tell the contestant. The contestant thought it was safe because it had been checked out by a doctor. The radio station DJs said live on air that they were aware of the risks.