Lydia’s Birthday, Autopsy Released

Tuesday Mar 16, 2010

Lydia Schatz would have been eight years old today, had she not died last month.

Her autopsy was released today. My heart is hurting, again.

On Tuesday (3/16/10), the autopsy results were released. The coroner’s report shows Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz’s 7 year old daughter died from Rhabdomyolsis.

The condition is a rapid breakdown of muscle tissue that releases by-products into the bloodstream, damaging the kidneys. Prosecutors say the girl’s parents repeatedly hit her with a plastic pipe as a form of punishment. The couple’s 11 year old daughter was also hospitalized with kidney damage but has since recovered.


In summary, rhabdomyolysis describes how Lydia’s body received repeated strikes to the point her muscle tissue started to break down. The body could not cope with the tissue breakdown.

Rhabdomyolysis occurs when there is damage to the skeletal muscle.

The injured muscle cell leaks myoglobin (a protein) into the blood stream. Myoglobin can be directly toxic to kidney cells, and it can impair and clog the filtration system of the kidney. Both mechanisms can lead to kidney failure, which is the major complication of rhabdomyolysis.

Significant muscle injury can cause fluid and electrolyte shifts from the bloodstream into the damaged muscle cells, and in the other direction (from the damaged muscle cells into the bloodstream). As a result, dehydration may occur. Elevated levels of potassium in the bloodstream (hyperkalemia) may be associated with heart rhythm disturbances and sudden cardiac death due to ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.

Related resources here, and here.

Father, in heaven, have mercy.


I feel sick. Someone explain to me again how this ties heartstrings.

March 18th, 2010 | 8:26 am

I am so sick about this. I can’t get away from thinking about it. I am so glad that so many people are speaking out about the Pearls. Not just the “spanking issue”, but all of the Pearls points.

I will never forget this little girl. Lydia ~ happy birthday. I know heaven holds one more, and when you arrived there, Jesus took you in His arms. God bless you, my little daring, may you rest in His precious peace.

March 18th, 2010 | 1:14 pm

I am so sick about this. I can’t get away from thinking about it. I am so glad that so many people are speaking out about the Pearls. Not just the “spanking issue”, but all of the Pearls points.

I will never forget this little girl. Lydia ~ happy birthday. I know heaven holds one more, and when you arrived there, Jesus took you in His arms. God bless you, my little darling, may you rest in His precious peace.

March 18th, 2010 | 1:22 pm

Sickening. How is this love?

Did you know that Michael Pearl appeared on the Today Show this morning. I read it on Barbara Curtis’ blog. Just wanted to let you know.

March 18th, 2010 | 3:18 pm

Michael Pearls interview was postponed till tomorrow on the Early show between 7 and 8 AM You saw him Shiela?

March 18th, 2010 | 4:03 pm

So sad. It kills me every time I see her name. My daughter’s name is Lydia also. Just incredibly unbelievable that someone could do that to a child.

March 18th, 2010 | 4:52 pm

Has anyone REALLY read the book/books by Mike Pearl?? If you had, you would know that this article is GROSSLY MISLEADING. The Pearls are wise and kind people that teach you how to be GOOD parents…NOT ABUSIVE ANGRY HYPOCRITES such as those parents from Cal. are. Let’s lay blame where blame is due, shall we?

March 18th, 2010 | 5:53 pm


It’s interesting that many who support the Pearls are willing to question the reading abilities of those that criticize but are unwilling to question the actual teachings of the Pearls.

I have read the Pearls material since the early 90’s. I am very familiar with what they say, as I’ve said frequently when the topic of the Pearls comes up, their writing lacks clarity and is not above examination. If it is true “wisdom” then it will survive scrutiny, truth always does. But falsehoods and ambiguous words needs to be challenged.

March 18th, 2010 | 6:49 pm

I’d like to say I’m shocked that people are still supporting the Pearls, but I suspect Michael Pearl has brainwashed his flock so well that they wouldn’t question any of his teachings, no matter how dangerous, perverse, or violent.

March 18th, 2010 | 7:43 pm

Lydia’s parents have pled not guilty:

I think we will learn that Lydia’s parents went far beyond the Pearls’ ideas. That does not exonerate the Pearls for what they DO teach.

I, too, am feeling a lot of dismay that so many Pearl followers (thankfully, not all!!!) are willing to overlook his actual teachings that we can all see and hear and respond to — and cannot at least acknowledge, “yeah that stuff on page [whatever] was a little sketchy, but we liked such-and-such.”

That I could understand. But the whole-hearted embrace of the Pearls-as-victims-of-misunderstanding stance…when their bizarre words and teachings are plain for all to see? This, I don’t understand. Certainly they were not the ones to sit on Lydia and whip her, looking for the whimper of submission that would let them know the job was done, but this incident brings attention to what they DO teach, regardless of whether the Schatz parents took it further than the Pearls would ever, ever think of doing. (And who knows, with Liberian adoptees what the Pearls would do? Adoptive parents are simply not prepared for the complex challenge of adopting older children from a different culture whose lives have been spent in struggling for survival in war-torn conditions.)

But I digress. Guest, I hope that this incident brings us all *to* the table for deeper thought and conversation about what it is to parent as Christians, rather than driving us *apart* to run to the banner of our various gurus.

March 18th, 2010 | 8:40 pm

We are a middle class family, we do not homeschool all our children, only as led with each child, we have read all of the Pearls books and found NO where in these books a license whatsoever to do what this couple did to their children. We need to be so careful that we don’t pass the blame where the blame doesn’t lie. There are millions who have constructively used the Pearl’s books as tools in positive, healthy discipline. Spanking, so we don’t forget, is a Biblical tool. We need to be careful that we are not letting society pass the blame. This couple, like we’ve seen over and over in society, is an extreme abuse of truth. Let’s be careful that we place the blame to the parents…

March 18th, 2010 | 8:49 pm
Linda B:

The interview with Michael Pearl, which had been moved to Friday morning, has been canceled.

March 18th, 2010 | 8:58 pm

Spanking is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. Nowhere. Beating, yes. Chastisement, yes. Discipline, yes. Spanking, no.

The parents did EXACTLY what the Pearls geach — calmly, repeatedly, consistently spanked their children for not obeying immediately and cheerfully. Which is scarier, a parent beating a child to the point of kidney failure calmly and deliberately, quoting Scripture, or one who spanks in anger?

March 18th, 2010 | 9:08 pm

Oops, teach. Can’t see the faint font in the comment box well. :)

March 18th, 2010 | 9:08 pm

Sometimes I get a patient who has had a fall and, unable to get to a phone, has laid on their floor long enough to experience rhabdomyolysis. It’s painful, and knowing what I do, my heart is broken again for little Lydia.

March 18th, 2010 | 10:10 pm

Jesusgirl, maybe you have read selectively, or not read the website articles or something to reach the conclusion that there is nothing remotely similar in their to what the Schatzes did.

Of course the Schatz parents are responsible for what they did–and no doubt they went beyond the material in their quest for their children to show submission.

But the fact that they did find inspiration in the Pearls’ parenting materials, however much further they may have taken it, is reason to look at the materials themselves with a critical eye. The child was not homeschooled to death, she was whipped with a 1/4 inch plumbing tube and that is a very odd choice to come up with on one’s own. No, the parents were inspired by the Pearls, and that bears looking into, if only to *protect* other families who may be at risk for similar horrible lapses of judgement.

But when you do look into his teachings, you find bad, bad things. This is not about spanking.

As a pastor has written, “his teachings do not have to be twisted to be dangerous, but are inherently wrong doctrinally and practically.” (Matt Ramey, pastor, and contributor at the Tritonelife blog)

March 18th, 2010 | 10:46 pm

[...] Lydia’s Birthday, Autopsy Released by TulipGirl Share and Enjoy: [...]

March 19th, 2010 | 1:35 pm

My heart breaks for the loss of this precious one. Thanks, Tulipgirl for providing us with this update. Although people have been attempting to justify and defend Michael and Debi Pearl, Michaell Pearl’s reaction and utter lack of humility and compassion for this tragedy express far more than I need to know about him.

March 19th, 2010 | 8:42 pm

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March 20th, 2010 | 10:12 am
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