Grandparents' loss: How Misty Horner's parents learned her baby was stillborn
41 Action News Staff
9:23 PM, Feb 15, 2013
1:51 PM, Feb 16, 2013
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Darrell and Gail Mansfield will never forget the way they learned their granddaughter was stillborn.
While they were concerned when their daughter, Misty Horner, told them she planned to give birth at home like her husband wanted, they were thrilled when they got the call to come and see the baby.
When the Mansfields got to Misty and Caleb Horner's home, they found baby Sydney dressed and cradled in their daughter's arms.
"We walked in the bedroom, and Caleb was sitting on the bed by Misty. I walked over to Misty and said 'Sis, are you okay?' And she said 'I'm fine,'" Gail Mansfield recalled. "But now that I think back on it, her eyes were – she didn't look right. She did not look right."
Gail said she took Sydney in her arms, rocked her back and forth and kissed her on the cheek.
But the idyllic scene was broken when Darrell overheard Caleb Horner saying something about "man's law."
"My wife is kissing on the baby and all ... the only thing I heard was Caleb saying 'man's law', and I said 'What do you mean man's law?' (And he said) 'Well, the baby is stillborn," Darrell Mansfield said. "We didn't know! Nobody had told us it was dead. They botched it by playing God and doctor, and they killed my baby."
Gail said she can't remember what she said to her daughter and Caleb at that point.
"When my husband finally told me that Sydney was dead – I couldn't believe she was dead. She was still warm. All cleaned up. All dressed. What kind of people do that? And I handed her back," Gail said. "(I) really still didn't believe that Sydney was dead because she was warm ... then after she didn't move for a long time, of course you know."
The Mansfields claim Misty sought medical attention during her pregnancy, but her husband intervened. Misty and Caleb followed the teachings of John Horner, Caleb's brother, who believes the Bible forbids the use of modern medicine.
Misty's parents won a civil judgment of $108 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the Horners. Caleb Horner filed a request for a new trial in February of 2013.