America's Angel of Death: How US  missionary was blamed for causing deaths of more than 100 Ugandan babies after being 'called by God' to save malnourished children

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  • Reading time:7 min(s) read

  • Renee, 39, is at the center of HBO’s new three-part Savior Complex
  • The evangelist set up a non-profit ‘malnutrition rehab center’ in Uganda in 2009
  • It was later accused of providing unlicensed medical care to babies and children

A new documentary series is unraveling the harrowing true story of an American missionary who was blamed for the death of more than 100 children.

Renee Bach, 39, who was branded as the Angel of Death, is at the center of HBO’s new three-part series Savior Complex.

The evangelist, originally from Virginia, set up a non-profit ‘malnutrition rehab center’ called Serving His Children in Uganda back in 2009 after being ‘called by God’ to save children from malnutrition, poverty, and disease. 

However, Renee’s organization was later accused of providing unlicensed – and allegedly deadly – medical care that her critics say caused the deaths of more than 100 babies. 

Witnesses also accused Renee of performing medical procedures – such as inserting catheters and administering medications – on babies and children, claiming she would walk around ‘dressed in a clinical coat’ with a ‘stethoscope around her neck’ – without being directly supervised by a medical professional.

The twisted case of the missionary – who is now living back in the US with two children, one of whom she adopted from Uganda – sparked outrage both in Uganda and the US, with critics claiming that the children had fallen victim to Renee’s ‘white savior complex’.  

Renee Bach, 39, who was branded as the Angel of Death, is at the center of HBO 's new three-part series Savior Complex

Renee Bach, 39, who was branded as the Angel of Death, is at the center of HBO ‘s new three-part series Savior Complex

The evangelist, originally from Virginia, set up a non-profit 'malnutrition rehab center' in Uganda in 2009 but was later accused of providing unlicensed - and allegedly deadly - care

The evangelist, originally from Virginia, set up a non-profit ‘malnutrition rehab center’ in Uganda in 2009 but was later accused of providing unlicensed – and allegedly deadly – care

Renee, who was sued by two African mothers over the deaths of their children, told HBO: 'I think some of the most wild accusations made about me were that I killed 800 children'

Renee, who was sued by two African mothers over the deaths of their children, told HBO: ‘I think some of the most wild accusations made about me were that I killed 800 children’

Renee, who was sued over several deaths but has never faced any criminal charges, either in the US or Uganda, told the program: ‘I think some of the most wild accusations made about me were that I killed 800 children, was medically experimenting on children, compared to Adolf Hitler and assumed to be part of the KKK.’ 

She added: ‘I feel like I’ve taken the hit for every single white person who’s ever stepped foot in Uganda.’ 

Renee, who was a ‘homeschooled missionary,’ first traveled to Jinja, Uganda, for a 10-month trip as a teenager in 2007 – but she soon felt ‘called by God’ to do more.

‘I just started to see malnutrition everywhere. So many children came seeking help,’ she told the program.

As a result, the then 19-year-old returned to the country in 2009, and ‘decided to make a malnutrition rehab center.’  

She started the ‘non-governmental organization with money raised through her church in Bedford, Virginia,’ according to The New Yorker.

The Serving His Children clinic was aimed at tackling malnutrition in impoverished regions by providing free meals and creating community engagement programs.

Renee also set up a blog to document the charity’s ongoing work – but her posts, which would later be submitted as evidence against her in court, indicated that she was doing more despite having no medical training.

‘I hooked the baby up to oxygen and got to work,’ she wrote in 2011. ‘I took her temperature, started an IV, checked her blood sugar, tested for malaria, and looked at her [hemoglobin] count.’ 

Renee, who was a 'homeschooled missionary,' first traveled to Jinja, Uganda, for a 10-month trip as a teenager in 2007 - but she soon felt 'called by God' to do more

Renee, who was a ‘homeschooled missionary,’ first traveled to Jinja, Uganda, for a 10-month trip as a teenager in 2007 – but she soon felt ‘called by God’ to do more

As a result, the then 19-year-old returned to the country in 2009, and 'decided to make a malnutrition rehab center'

As a result, the then 19-year-old returned to the country in 2009, and ‘decided to make a malnutrition rehab center’ 

Renee and Serving His Children were first called out by the organization No White Saviors in 2018, and have been credited for helping to bring attention to it.

On September 15, X, formerly known as Twitter, No White Saviors released a statement stating it had been led to believe that the documentary would focus on the group’s work, but rather they felt as though ‘a white woman gets rewarded for killing Ugandan babies.’

The statement said the trailer indicated that the series was ‘giving a central voice and sympathy to white woman fragility tears.’

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Former volunteer Jacqueline Grace Kramlich, who is a registered nurse, spoke to ABC News and alleged that Renee ‘didn’t believe Ugandan doctors knew what they were talking about’ and instead looked treatments up online.

In the documentary, others also claimed she acted ‘as if she was a medical personnel’ but revealed she was ‘not qualified.’ 

And when a former nurse who worked with Renee is asked whether she believes is a murderer, she begins to speak before cutting herself off to say: ‘Oh God, that’s a good question.’

From 2010 to 2015, Renee said the center took in 940 children – but 105 of those died, according to NPR.

The facility was becoming increasingly engulfed in problems and authorities were forced to shut it down. 

In January 2019, the first civil case was filed against Renee at the High Court in Jinja.

Gimbo Zubeda’s three-year-old son and Kakai Annet’s one-year-old son died after receiving treatment at the Serving His Children center.

Annet said at the time: ‘I feel his life was snatched from my arms by the actions of Ms. Renee Bach.’ 

The following year, without accepting liability, Renee and the organization agreed to pay the mothers 35,000,000 Ugandan Shillings each – about $9,000 – according to The Guardian.

Renee, who witnesses said would walk around 'dressed in a clinical coat' with a 'stethoscope around her neck,' was accused of performing medical procedures such as inserting catheters and administering medications

Renee, who witnesses said would walk around ‘dressed in a clinical coat’ with a ‘stethoscope around her neck,’ was accused of performing medical procedures such as inserting catheters and administering medications

It was also alleged that Renee 'didn't believe Ugandan doctors knew what they were talking about' and instead looked treatments up online

It was also alleged that Renee ‘didn’t believe Ugandan doctors knew what they were talking about’ and instead looked treatments up online

Speculation continued to swirl and Renee was later denounced as the Angel of Death on social media as the clamor against 'white saviors' only grew louder

Speculation continued to swirl and Renee was later denounced as the Angel of Death on social media as the clamor against ‘white saviors’ only grew louder

However, a short time later, another four families took legal action against the American missionary seeking compensation and an apology as well as demanding that criminal charges be brought against Renee.

Speculation continued to swirl and Renee was later denounced as the Angel of Death on social media.

It also fed into the clamor against ‘white saviors’ and the ethics of foreign aid work carried out ‘in the name of humanitarian and religious ideals.’

She returned to America and is said to have no plans to return to Uganda. 

Renee now lives with her two daughters – one of whom is a Ugandan Renee adopted after she was brought to the now defunct center, The New Yorker stated.

In the documentary, Renee stated: ‘I do believe she saved lives. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

‘I feel like I’ve taken the hit for every single white person in Uganda. I did not kill children.’

Savior Complex is available to stream now on HBO Max 




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