Murder charges pending against parents after diabetic teen dies: Cops

Murder charges pending against parents after diabetic teen dies: Cops
Jenna McMurray, QMI Agency
First posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 03:21 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 08:18 PM EST
CALGARY — Parents of a teen who died after he allegedly didn’t receive treatment for his previously diagnosed Type 1 diabetes are facing first-degree murder charges, police say.
On May 7, 2013, police were called to a Citadel home after reports of a dead youth.
An autopsy on the 15-year-old, Alexandru Radita, was done the next day, but more tests were required.
Police said the additional testing found the cause of death was bacterial sepsis (Staphyloccus Aureus), which resulted from neglect and starvation combined with the teen’s diabetes.

Police confirmed the deceased had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes several years earlier, prior to moving from B.C. to Alberta, and believe his parents failed to provide him with the necessary treatment.
The teen’s health deteriorated, he was confined to his room and later died, say police.

The “extreme” circumstances and length of time the alleged neglect went on for are what led to the conclusion first-degree murder charges were warranted.
Those charges were pending against the boy’s parents, Emil and Rodica Radita, Tuesday afternoon.
“This boy has suffered from long-term neglect to the point that he was unable to seek medical attention on his own and it is (the parents’) responsibility to provide that for him,” said Homicide Staff Sgt. Grant Miller.

He said boy was home-schooled and didn’t have a family doctor in Alberta.
“That’s why I think this could go on for as long as it did,” he said. “It most definitely could have been stopped before and when you care for a child or a loved one and they’re sick, you need to take them to the doctor.”
Investigators are unsure of the motive for allegedly not providing treatment, police said, but they don’t think it has to do with religious beliefs.
It’s believed there are seven other children in the family, though some are now adults, he said, adding the other kids are “in a safe place.”
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Murder charges pending against parents after diabetic teen dies: Cops | Canada | News | Toronto Sun (external - login to view)
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More from the world of religious nutters....

When EMS was called to the home in May 2013, they encountered about 20 people who were inside, kneeling, chanting and praying, according to paramedic Debroah Baumback's testimony Monday afternoon.

Once inside, Baumback says she and her team made their way upstairs to Alex's room where they saw him lying on a bed in the middle of the room.

"I actually remember walking in the room thinking 'what the hell is that,'" said Baumback. "[Alex was] emaciated to the fact that he looked mummified."

The boy had sores on his face that were black and necrotic and was so "extraordinarily skinny" that she said there was "nothing left."
Alex was not breathing, he was cold to the touch and had no pulse.

Emil Radita told the paramedics that his son had been diagnosed with diabetes a month earlier and had suffered from chronic diarrhea for a month, said Baumback.

She also testified that Alex's father said he called friends from his church before he called 9-1-1.

Alex Radita, 15, weighed 37 pounds when he died, murder trial hears - Calgary - CBC News

WARNING: This story contains content some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is strongly advised.

Shocking new court exhibit photos have been released in the trial of two parents accused of killing their teenage son.

Emil and Rodica Radita were arrested in February 2014 and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the trial by judge alone on Tuesday.

Photos of 15-year-old Alex Radita released during trial for Calgary parents accused of not treating teen | (external - login to view)
Radita parents accused of murdering diabetic son refused to accept his diagnosis, says Crown

WARNING: This story contains photos that may be disturbing to some readers

After his diagnosis, Alex went years without seeing medical professionals and was hospitalized several times, once when he was near death after his parents failed to properly treat him.

Throughout the years, Rodica told medical staff she did not agree with the diabetes diagnosis and did not want to give Alex insulin. At one point, she said she believed the insulin was giving Alex cold sores and resisted increasing the amount he was getting.

In December 2000, Alex was hospitalized for the first time. The hospital initially refused to discharge Alex because his parents were in denial about his medical condition. The family was trained on how to treat his diabetes and Alex was returned to them.

Three months later, in March 2001, Alex was again admitted to hospital under the threat that he would be removed from his family's home after doctors suspected his parents were faking his blood sugar readings.

Rodica and Emil were supposed to test him four times each day and report those findings once a week to the hospital.

The Raditas were trained further and Alex was returned under the supervision of a doctor.

For six more months, the family saw the doctor until he moved his office.

After that, Alex did not receive medical care for the next three and a half years, until he was taken by ambulance to hospital in "grave condition" in October 2003.

Doctors found Alex in terrible shape: his teeth were rotten, his stomach distended, he was malnourished and nearly unconscious.
His blood sugar was undetectable. Rodica Radita told medical staff her son had only been sick for two days.

At that time, the boy was considered "severely underweight" for a five-year-old and weighed 39 pounds, just two pounds heavier than when he died at the age of 15.

Alex remained in hospital for 2½ months and once he was healthy, he was seized by B.C. child and family services for about a year.

During that time he returned to a normal weight and became a talkative child, according to a Crown witness whom Pepper plans to call if the evidence is deemed admissible.

In January 2005, Alex was returned to his parents by a B.C. judge despite the director of child and family services seeking a permanent guardianship order.

Justice J.G. Cohen found that Rodica and Emil were capable of treating Alex given monitoring and education.

"[Alex] is now a full-time student under the watchful eye of a teacher each and every day of the school week," wrote Cohen. "Previously he was seen by no one but the family and his deterioration was not visible to the outside world."

For the next three years, until 2008, a doctor supervised Alex's care and his diabetes stabilized. The file on Alex was closed.

But the family failed to show up for an appointment in July 2008 and an investigation was launched. Alex was found to have been withdrawn from school and the family couldn't be found.

It was later discovered the family moved to Alberta at some point in 2008.

"No action was taken and there was never any interaction between B.C. and Alberta child and family services," said Pepper.

Defence lawyers for the couple will make their arguments on the admissibility after the witnesses testify beginning June 6.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Karen Horner will decide sometime after the court has heard from those 11 B.C. witnesses.

Radita parents accused of murdering diabetic son refused to accept his diagnosis, says Crown - Calgary - CBC News
A Calgary teen who weighed 37 pounds had been lying dead in his home for up to 36 hours before 911 was called, according to evidence from the first officer on scene who testified at the murder trial of his parents.

Const. Larry Pugliese said that Emil Radita told first responders he found his son unresponsive around 8 p.m., but the officer was later told by medical investigator Shauna Mitchell that there was "no way" the teen was alive at that time.

"Her assessment was 12 to 36 hours he'd been deceased," said Pugliese.

When Pugliese and Mitchell asked the Raditas why there was such a "huge delay" in calling for medical help, the Raditas told him it had been their son's choice.

"Emil had said that he told [Alex] that he needed to go to the hospital but he refused and said that he didn't like to go to hospitals because he had a bad experience when he was three years old," said Pugliese.

Mitchell and Pugliese then took the parents into a bedroom to talk about the circumstances surrounding their son's death.
Rodica told them Alex had no medical issues.

"That's when I spoke up," said Pugliese, who had been told about Alex's diabetes diagnosis just after 10 p.m. when he arrived at the family's home.

Rodica responded that her son had been diagnosed at age three, but said she did not believe he was diabetic.

Earlier in the Court of Queen's Bench judge-alone trial, Justice Karen Horner heard evidence that the family had a history of refusing to treat Alex's diabetes

The parents told police and paramedics that Alex had the flu for three days leading up to his death and had been dealing with diarrhea for about a month.

When Pugliese first arrived at the Radita home, one of the paramedics told him that Alex was "beyond hope."

Alex Radita was dead for up to 36 hours before 911 called, parents' murder trial hears - Calgary - CBC News
Radita's parents told church members he was resurrected from the dead

Alex Radita died and was resurrected by God the day before paramedics found his severely emaciated body in his family's home, his parents told church members in the hours before 911 was called.

"He died last night and in the morning, after night, [Rodica] see the child breathing and blink eyes," Marius Ciltan said he was told when he visited the Radita home on May 7, 2013.

"[Rodica] says last night the child had died and in the morning he rise up."

Ciltan, a member of the Romanian Pentecostal Church, also told Justice Karen Horner that after Alex's death, Emil told him he believed doctors in British Columbia, where the family lived before moving to Alberta in 2009, caused Alex's diabetes by giving him insulin.

"The doctors abused the child in the hospital," Ciltan said Emil told him.

That's why the family decided to treat Alex at home, according to Ciltan.

After speaking with Emil, Ciltan headed over to the Radita home where he says he prayed with Rodica and the seven other Radita children before asking to see Alex.

When he entered Alex's room, he says he asked Rodica if the boy was alive.

"He was looking very bad," said Ciltan. "I was shocked."

Ciltan said he left the Radita home with some of Alex's siblings to go to church where they prayed and then brought about 15 members back to the home for more prayers.

The elders asked to see the child and then told Emil to call 911, according to Ciltan.

Prosecutor Marta Juzwiac asked Ciltan if members of his church sought medical attention when they were ill.

"Yes," said Ciltan. "All the people."

The witness before Ciltan was another member of the church, Eunice Pop, who was friends with some of Alex's sisters.

Shortly after Alex died, one of his sisters told Pop that he had cancer. But on Thursday, the medical examiner testified Alex did not have cancer.

On a visit to the Radita home around March or April of 2013, Pop described seeing Alex walk down the stairs "snail slow" using the railing. She testified that he had a hole in his neck, swollen legs and looked sick.

As part of Pop's cross-examination, Rodica's lawyer Andrea Serink asked if she had seen any photos of Alex since his death.
She admitted she might have heard about the hole in his neck after reading media stories about the trial.

The Court of Queen's Bench judge-alone trial is in its 7th day and is set to last several more weeks.

Alex Radita's parents told church members he was resurrected from the dead, murder trial hears - Calgary - CBC News
In the end, Alex Radita's student number was just that — a number.

He was enrolled in a Catholic homeschooling program in September 2009 for Grade 5 but not a single piece of work was ever submitted.

Every grade in Alex's only report card from the five years the Radita family lived in Alberta was a 1, which meant "Assessment not able to complete at this time."

With no work submitted, there was no work to assess.

Emil and Rodica Radita are on trial for first-degree murder, accused in the neglect and starvation death of their 15-year-old diabetic son, who was found emaciated, weighing just 37 lbs at the time of his death.

Teachers and the principal attempted to contact the Radita parents throughout the 2009/2010 school year but were never able to reach them, despite multiple phone calls and letters.

Cardell Musyj is the principal of the School of Hope, a distance learning school with offices in Vermilion, Alta., for students in grades 1 to 12. He testified at the murder trial on Friday.

The School of Hope offers both online — teacher led — and homeschooling — parent led — programs for students anywhere in Alberta.

The school reports to the East Central Alberta Catholic School Board.

Musyj's testimony exposed holes in provincial systems that allowed Alex Radita to disappear from public view.

Though the Raditas could not be contacted and Alex never submitted any work, there are no laws that require schools to notify the Alberta Education or Child and Family Services ministries.

Alex was simply "considered truant," said Musyj.

In the letter sent by the school to the Radita family on June 10, 2010, they were reminded of their obligation to send any children under the age of 16 to school. But Alex was never again enrolled in any school or program.

"[We're] under no obligation to contact anybody when the child is not in school or no longer with us," said Musyj.

Students like Alex Radita, who are enrolled in the online teacher-led program, are visited by a teacher twice a year though Musyj described this as a service provided by the school, not a legal requirement.

The family met with a teacher assistant one time, at the beginning of the 2009 school year.

Defence lawyers Jim Lutz and Andrea Serink did not ask Musyj any cross-examination questions.

Other evidence led by prosecutors Susan Pepper and Marta Juzwiak on Friday showed Alex never saw a doctor in this province but there were pharmacy records showing insulin had been dispensed at times throughout the years.

The Court of Queen's Bench judge-alone trial will enter its third week on Monday.

Murder trial hears Alex Radita kicked out of homeschooling program, no ministries notified - Calgary - CBC News
The pediatrician who initially dealt with a starved, diabetic child years before his death said the boy's mother believed her son was misdiagnosed and that "she and God" were going to prove the doctors wrong.

Emil Radita, 59, and his wife Rodica Radita, who is 53, are charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of their 15-year-old son.

Alexandru Radita, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

Dr. Robert White was called to examine the boy at B.C.'s Surrey General Hospital in December 2000 after the emergency room physician suspected the child had diabetes.

White testified that Rodica Radita was convinced the doctor had made a mistake in the diagnosis and she raised the issue several times in the brief time her son was in the hospital.

"She continued to express concern that the diagnosis was made by the doctor jumping to a conclusion and she was very uncomfortable with that," said White.

He said she also made an unusual statement to him just as Alexandru was being transferred to the B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver.

"He didn't have diabetes and she was going to prove the doctors wrong and made reference to God in our conversation," White told court.

"She and God were going to prove us wrong. I remember the reference was she was going to prove the doctors wrong and God was going to make him better."

White provided care to Alexandru for several months during which time the doctor suspected there was some problem with the boy's diet and provision of insulin. But his diabetes was under control.

Two years later, White was called to help out again when Alexandru, severely malnourished and near death, was readmitted to the Surrey hospital.

"He was so ill looking that the pediatrician on call was uncomfortable providing the resuscitative care that was necessary," White said.

"He was so sick when he came in that time that I was taken aback myself. The mother was with him and so I chose to not engage in a big discussion with the mother, because I was a little emotional at the time."

White testified that the boy's mother said she had been changing his medication and had stopped giving him the long-lasting insulin.
"This is quite a drastic alteration in the care she had taken of her own volition. The justification was he got a rash."

White said there was one more thing that still disturbs him because it showed how unresponsive Alexandru had become. The mother had indicated she was trying to get food and insulin into the boy before his arrival at hospital, the doctor testified.

He noted the boy was so ill they had to remove "a chunk of undigested and unchewed wiener from his esophagus."

"He obviously was not very conscious."

Alex Radita's mom was going 'to prove us wrong,' doctor testifies at murder trial - Calgary - CBC News
Alex Radita 'sentenced' to death, says social worker

The judge who gave a diabetic boy back to his parents a decade before they would be accused of his murder "sentenced Alex to death," says a social worker who became so traumatized after the decision that she now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

Patricia MacDonald spoke to CBC News days after she testified at the Emil and Rodica Radita first-degree murder trial in Calgary.

MacDonald fought against Alex Radita being returned to his parents in 2004 after he was seized by social services the year before. The then five-year-old boy had been taken to hospital, emaciated from untreated diabetes and so close to death that one doctor testified Alex would have had just hours to live if he didn't receive treatment.

"I had to hold on to the bench in front of me and I just said under my breath, 'He's just sentenced Alex to death,'" said MacDonald, after she learned B.C. Judge J.G. Cohen decided to return Alex to his parents.

MacDonald has been off work for two years. She's never spoken publicly about Alex. Now, she wants the public to know that he had people in his life who were trying to protect him.

"We, including myself tried our very hardest to protect Alex, to keep him alive," said MacDonald. "I think for us — the ministry — we were failed by the court system."

MacDonald said that most of the time, the ministry and the parents worked together on a game plan to get children back with their families in a safe environment, but she did not feel Alex would survive with the Raditas.

"I had never come across, in my whole career, parents that were so difficult, so resistant, so angry, hostile as the Raditas," said MacDonald.

"How did he not get it?"

MacDonald said she wondered about Cohen's decision.

"It's astounding ... how could he have made that order given all of that evidence?"

By the time Alex was taken from his parents in 2003, there was evidence the diabetic boy had gone, at times, years without seeing a doctor. One of the physicians who treated the five-year-old when he arrived at hospital testified last week and became visibly emotional when looking at photos of the emaciated boy.

The Raditas had a long history of denying Alex's condition and refusing to properly treat it, according to evidence presented at the murder trial.

"They had no intention of caring for his diabetes, even though they knew how," said MacDonald.

"The mother was very capable, she was very intelligent, she was able to change the insulin according to his blood sugar levels so really there was no reason for Alex to have deteriorated into that condition."

But in his written decision to return Alex, Cohen often laid blame on MacDonald who, in a telephone interview from her home in B.C., said she felt under attack by the provincial court judge at the 2004 hearing.

"There had been a misunderstanding of the facts by the social worker," wrote Cohen. "This was not a case of denial of diagnosis and withdrawal of treatment, rather it was a case of acceptance of the diagnosis but with poor management of its complex treatment regime."

Cohen said that Alex was now enrolled in school and any deterioration would be "visible to the outside world."

"[Alex] is now a full-time student under the watchful eye of a teacher each and everyday of the school week," he wrote.

But shortly after Alex was returned to his parents, he stopped going to school. And when the doctor the Raditas had agreed could treat Alex moved offices in 2008, they stopped showing up for appointments.

By 2009, the family had moved to Alberta, where Alex was never taken to see a doctor, according to evidence at the trial.

In most murder trials, victims' family members come to court to bear witness to the process. Most say they are there to honour their loved ones.

In Alex's case, his parents are both in the prisoners' box, none of his seven siblings have shown up — it is possible they could be called as witnesses and would therefore be excluded from the courtroom — and he never attended school after the year he spent in foster care, so likely did not have any friends.

A handful of people, though, have grieved publicly for Alex — either in the witness box or in interviews outside the courtroom.

But most are people who should never have been in the boy's life to begin with: a police officer, a doctor who specialized in malnutrition, and a social worker, MacDonald.

If any good can come from Alex's death, it would be in the form of systemic change that could offer protections to other vulnerable children that Alex wasn't afforded, says MacDonald.

Something like an Amber Alert, MacDonald proposes an "Alex Alert" that could be used when families under investigation by social services flee a jurisdiction.

"The Raditas aren't the first family I've had do that," said MacDonald.

"They just pick up and leave, they'll leave in the middle of the night ... and then you go around to the house and they're gone. And we have no way of tracking where they have gone."

Alex Radita 'sentenced' to death, says social worker of B.C. judge's decision to return boy to parents - Calgary - CBC News
Radita trial adjourned until fall, judge allows BC evidence related to diabetic boy

Key testimony chronicling the early years of starved diabetic teen Alex Radita (external - login to view) while he was living in British Columbia will be admitted as evidence in the first-degree murder trial of his parents.

Radita trial adjourned until fall, judge allows BC evidence related to diabetic boy | (external - login to view)
Calgary parents on trial for the death of their teenage diabetic son had earlier run-ins with social services officials in Ontario concerning the care of another child, CBC News has learned.

More than a decade earlier, one of his siblings had also been taken from the family by authorities in Ontario after the Raditas refused to allow a hospital to treat the sick infant.

The couple also had a baby who died in the 1990s in unclear circumstances, records show.

Information relating to the family's time in Ontario comes from a 2004 testimony transcript of B.C. social worker Patricia MacDonald, who gave evidence at a hearing in an effort to keep Alex from being returned to his parents.

In the 1990s, before the Raditas moved to B.C., the family lived in two Ontario cities — Windsor and Kitchener.

In the first case, one of the Radita children was born prematurely and needed oxygen, but Rodica refused to let medical staff treat the newborn. At that time, Children's Aid was called in and seized the infant so that medical care could continue.

When the same child was five months old, the baby fell ill and Rodica gave the infant adult Tylenol. The baby was brought to hospital and began having seizures — though it's unclear if the seizures were related to the pain reliever.

Anti-seizure medication was given to the child, but Rodica was so resistant that Children's Aid had to step in again so that the sick baby could receive treatment. He was returned once the Raditas agreed to administer the medicine.

The Raditas also had a 3½-month-old baby girl who died in the early 1990s in Ontario, but the circumstances of the infant's death are unclear.

MacDonald testified that she was told the baby had bronchial pneumonia, but the parents refused to tell her the girl's name or birth date so the social worker was not able to obtain the coroner's report.

Radita murder trial: Parents had 2nd child seized by social services and a baby who died - Calgary - CBC News
Sad state of affairs
By extension the US passing laws to prevent accurate labeling so people can't see what's actually in their food, and the vitamin and nutrient deficient nutrition guidelines, and the total lack of nutritional knowledge exhibited by western Doctors, and the causing of Die a beat youz, by the food industry should also be just as guilty...

Record 4m suffer from diabetes as obesity levels soar: Number with the illness has soared by two thirds in a decade
Record 4m Britons suffer from diabetes as obesity levels soar | Daily Mail Online

The RELIGION that science and profit have descended into being is just as guilty
A Calgary judge has found the parents of a diabetic boy who died of starvation and lack of treatment guilty of first-degree murder.

Justice Karen Horner says Emil and Rodica Radita were in gross denial of 15-year-old Alexandru’s disease.

Alexandru weighed less than 37 pounds when he died in 2013 of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

The Raditas showed now emotion as the verdict was delivered.

Alberta’s chief medical examiner testified that an autopsy showed the teen was severely underweight, covered in ulcers and nearly toothless.

There were several signs the boy had been subjected to neglect and starvation.

Parents of diabetic Calgary boy who died of starvation found guilty of first-degree murder | National Post
Rodica Radita appeals murder conviction in death of 37-lb. teenage son because judge cried

A Calgary mother who was convicted of first-degree murder in the starvation and neglect death of her diabetic 15-year-old son has asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to overturn her conviction, arguing the judge showed bias when she cried during the trial. The boy weighed just 37 pounds when he died.

In her own handwriting, Rodica Radita's notice of appeal states two grounds on which she argues that a higher court should order a new trial.

"The judge's crying during my case (closing argument and while reading her decision) demonstrates that she was biased," reads the document.

"Saying that my arguments were 'nonsensical' when they were based on the actual evidence further shows her bias and inability to decide my case on the facts rather than on emotion."

Although Horner seemed to be emotional when reading her decision, it was unclear if she was crying.

Alex, 15, whose Type 1 diabetes went untreated, died on May 7, 2013. His parents were each given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

The Raditas had a history of refusing to properly treat their son's condition — despite many meetings and training sessions with medical professionals — beginning when he was diagnosed at age two when the family lived in British Columbia.

Rodica Radita appeals murder conviction in death of 37-lb. teenage son because judge cried - Calgary - CBC News
That woman and her husband should both be executed anyway.
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

That woman and her husband should both be executed anyway.

Very slowly as well.

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