A couple in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, reportedly allowed their 19-month-old toddler to die in March 2012 from meningitis by treating him with natural remedies instead of taking him to a doctor, a court heard on March 7.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the boy, Ezekiel, was ill for two weeks before David and Collet Stephan finally called on ambulance after the boy stopped breathing.
The Stephans allegedly gave Ezekiel supplements such as "water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root," notes CBC News.
The Stephans were reportedly trying to boost the child's immune system, which had already become compromised by the meningitis.
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Medical personnel air-lifted the toddler to a hospital in Calgary, but he was taken off life support after five days.
Prosecutors played an audio tape of the couple telling a police officer how they use naturopathic remedies because of their bad experiences with the conventional medical system.
The couple operates Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., a nutritional supplements company that Health Canada tried to stop in 2004 from distributing Empowerplus, a supplement that supposedly manages specific mental illnesses.
The Stephans reportedly tried to treat Ezekiel with Empowerplus.
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John M. Grohol, Psy.D. reposted a blog entry on PsychCentral.com about Empower and Truehope, which was co-founded by David's father, Anthony Stephan:
"The story involves a conversation between two Canadian Mormons, Anthony Stephan and David Hardy. The story goes something like this. Mr Stephan, a property manager was complaining to his fellow church goer Mr Hardy about his children’s behavior. Namely some symptoms of ADD and some manic components of bipolar. Mr Hardy, whose experience as a cattle feed salesman informed him, stated that some of these behaviors sounded similar to a condition that occurs to domestic pig farms, Ear and Tail Biting Syndrome.
"Mr Hardy offered up that information that introducing vitamins and minerals into pig food seemed to clear up ETBS. Some theorycrafting between the two of these men soon resulted with the conclusion that by introducing vitamins and minerals to Mr Stephen’s children that the human version of Ear and Tail Biting Syndrome might just clear up and what did he have to lose but to try?"