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Court hears family prayed over starved diabetic teen instead of calling for help

Alex Radita is shown in a photo from his 15th birthday party, three months before his death.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Government of Alberta
June 01, 2016 - 4:30 PM

CALGARY - Family members prayed over a starved, diabetic teen for about two hours after he stopped breathing before calling for help, a medical investigator testified Wednesday.

Emil Radita, 59, and his wife Rodica Radita, 53, are accused of first-degree murder in the 2013 death of their 15-year-old son Alexandru. Court has already heard the boy weighed less than 37 pounds and died from complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

Alexandru was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three years old while the family lived in British Columbia.

Shauna Mitchell, a registered nurse who is an investigator for the medical examiner's office, testified that initially Rodica Radita denied her son had any chronic health problems. The mother said he had been sick for about a month with the flu, diarrhea and a yeast infection in his throat that required he be fed baby food.

"She said he was a normal child who was walking and talking prior to becoming ill," Mitchell said.

The mother later admitted that her son had been diagnosed with diabetes and, although she didn't believe he was ill, she was giving him insulin, Mitchell said.

The nurse said she asked the parents when Alexandru was last seen alive.

"They said they went to church, I think it was after 1800 hours, and came home about 2000 hours. That's when the father said he wasn't breathing," said Mitchell.

"So they were praying and they didn't call EMS until sometime around 2200 hours. There were multiple people in the residence when I got there that were, from my understanding, part of their church and they were in the home praying together."

Mitchell said she was shocked at the state of Alexandru's body.

"He basically looked like a skeleton with skin," she said. "His skull was very, very bony. You could count every rib. You could see every rib. His arms were extremely skinny as were his legs. He had open and dried lesions all over his body."

The first police officer called to the family home said there were about 20 people there when he arrived.

Const. Larry Pugliese said emergency medical personnel were attending to the boy when he entered the bedroom.

"The boy was extremely thin and I thought at the time maybe 20 pounds. His shirt was off and he had ribs protruding from his body. Also lesions on his neck," said Pugliese.

"When I looked at the boy, my first instinct is he's dead."

Pugliese said he spoke to the boy's father, who confirmed the teen had been diagnosed with diabetes and that there was insulin in the refrigerator.

The father also told the officer his son had refused to go to the hospital because of a bad experience he had when he was a toddler.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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