A 15-year-old Canadian boy died from starvation and untreated diabetes after his parents prayed for help rather than seeking medical attention.
Metro News Canada reports that 59-year-old Emil Radita and his wife, 53-year-old Rodica Radita, are accused of first-degree murder in the death of their son, Alexandru.
Alexandru was apparently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three years old. According to CBC, the boy was hospitalized several times for untreated diabetes, and even seized by British Columbia social services after he nearly died from the condition.
But a court ordered that Alexandru be returned to his parents, with a judge stipulating that the Raditas be required to take Alex to a doctor as part of the condition of his return.
The family eventually moved to Calgary, Alberta, where young Alex was home schooled, and allegedly never taken to see a doctor. CBC reports that the boy had no contact with the outside world, and therefore no one outside the home could witness his deteriorating condition.
According to Metro News, the family was attending church one evening and returned home to find Alexandru unconscious and not breathing. An investigation by the medical examiner's office revealed that the Raditu family, as well as friends and neighbors, gathered around their son to pray for his safety for two hours before eventually calling for emergency medical services.
"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," said Shauna Mitchell, a registered nurse who is an investigator for the medical examiner's office.
CBC reports that by the time Alexandru was taken to the hospital, he was so emaciated that he weighed only 37 pounds.
"He basically looked like a skeleton with skin," Mitchell claims. "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."
Paramedic Debroah Baumback was one of the first responders at the scene. She testified that young Alex was "emaciated to the [point] that he looked mummified."
Baumback added that the boy had black sores on his face and that he was so "extraordinarily skinny" that it appeared that there was "nothing left."
The Raditas have other adult children who were also in the house at the time of Alexandru's death. One of their children, Emil, told paramedics that her father phoned members of the church before dialing 911, CBC reports.
Another unidentified male sibling recalled walking by Alexandru's room just before he died and watching his mother lift the sick boy.
"I saw his face," the sibling said, "it was so scary. It looked like he was dead. [We] started to pray. The Holy Spirit said he was in paradise."