Alexandru "Alex" Radita, 15, died at his family home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on May 7, 2013. His religious parents reportedly prayed for two hours after he stopped breathing.
His parents, Rodica and Emil Radita, are now on trial for the first-degree murder of their son, who was diabetic and weighed 37 pounds at the time of his death, notes CBC News.
Alex died from bacterial sepsis due to starvation and neglect.
The parents are accused of withholding treatment for their son’s illness.
Marius Ciltan, a member of the Romanian Pentecostal Church the family attended, recently told a court how Emil believed that doctors in British Columbia had given Alex diabetes by injecting him with insulin (which is not medically possible).
The family decided to treat Alex at home because of their misguided belief about the doctors, Ciltan recalled to the court.
Alex was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes (genetic) when he was three years old.
Alex was reportedly taken away from his family three times by social services because his parents refused to treat his condition or even accept his medical diagnosis.
Ciltan told the court that he was called by another church member on May 7, 2013, with the claim that Alex had died and had been resurrected.
Ciltan went to the Radita home to see if Alex was alive, and recalled: "He was looking very bad. I was shocked."
Ciltan left the home with some of Alex's siblings to go to church. They prayed at church and brought about 15 members back to the family home.
After the elders asked to see Alex, they told Emil to call 911, Ciltan testified.
Shauna Mitchell, who works with the Medical Examiner’s office, testified in court that she was sent to the Radita home to investigate a sudden death, notes the National Post.
Mitchell recalled that the parents didn't call EMS until about two hours after they had returned home from an evening church service and found their son not breathing; it's possible the teen may have stopped breathing before the family went to the service.
Const. Larry Pugliese, the first officer to arrive at the home, told the court that Alex looked "like a skeleton" and was clearly dead.
"The boy was extremely thin," Pugliese recalled. "I thought at the time maybe [he weighed] 20 pounds."
“[Mitchell] ... asked why they didn’t call EMS earlier in the day, and Emil said he had told Alexandru he needed to go to the hospital but he refused, he didn’t like to go to the hospital because he had a bad experience when he was three years old," Pugliese said.
Rodica doubted that her son had diabetes, but said that she "still had insulin in the fridge and she gave it to him daily," Pugliese added.