Autism is a still poorly understood developmental disability that likely is neurological in origins. It is not caused by evil spirits,
Church members had wrapped the boy in sheets to keep him from scratching himself and others, but the boy was allowed to sit “any way that he feels comfortable,” Hemphill said.
“All I know is we’re not guilty of anything,” he said.
. . .
He said members of the church, made up of just six families, prayed for God to release the evil spirits that he said caused the boy’s illness. The church had been performing the prayer services for the boy three times a week for the past three weeks, Hemphill said.
“The boy just had a problem in his mind, and what we were doing was asking God to fix it,” Hemphill said. “He chose to fix it by taking him back home to Him.”
Cops Probe Death of Autistic Boy During Prayer Service. Associated Press, August 25, 2003.