On Friday 24 February, two parents from Calgary, Canada were sentenced to 25 years of life in prison with no parole after the judge found them guilty of first-degree murder.

The Canadian parents Emil Radita, 60 and Rodica Radita, 54 were held responsible for the death of their diabetic son, Alexandru after he died in 2013 as a result of complications from intentionally untreated diabetes and starvation.

Alexandru’s medical crisis began when he was about three years old. His parents had taken him to a hospital in British Columbia, Canada, in December 2000 due to unceasing abdominal pain, fever, constant thirst, and vomiting.

After several lab tests, the doctor confirmed that Alex had Type 1 diabetes and explained to the couple that the boy would need regular blood tests and insulin injections to make blood-sugar levels moderate.

However, due to reasons best known to the couple, the boy was left untreated and uncared for.

The court documents revealed that Mrs. Radita had stated that the diagnosis was incorrect to her.

So rather than heed to the doctor’s advice, she did otherwise to prove them wrong.

13 years after, the boy was found dead in his family home.

According to the Canadian Press, Mr. and Mrs. Radita intended to and did isolate Alex from anyone who could intervene and monitor his insulin treatment aside from themselves.

Witnesses at the scene during the recovery of his corpse also stated that the boy, who was one of the family’s eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds even though he was 15.

An emergency worker at the scene also revealed that the young boy looked emaciated to the point where he appeared mummified.

According to her, his face was so slim and malnourished that she could see his bone.

A Health worker whose account was officially documented in the court’s records revealed that Alexandru had black, necrotic sores on his face, and his left jaw had open sores so deep she could see his jaw bone.

There was nothing left of his stomach as he was just so extraordinarily skinny.

She estimated his waistline to be approximately three inches.

Paramedic Baumback, who was called to the scene, also reported that the young boy had just three-inch waist and few teeth.

Not only was he covered in ulcers, but he was also even wearing a nappy.

An autopsy carried out during the investigation further revealed that the boy had died of bacterial sepsis, which was caused by extreme starvation.

Canada Justice Karen Horner said:

“Alex died as a result of bacterial sepsis brought on by extreme starvation. His physical condition at the time of death was not a sudden or quick occurrence but rather took over months and possibly, probably years.”

In one of their appearances in court, the couple’s attorney argued the couple lacked the financial means to cater for their young child and not the desire to intentionally withhold the insulin from him despite knowing the consequences.

Alex’s Life Outside His Immediate Family

Several pieces of evidence pointed to the fact that Alexandru Radita could have lived a long and prosperous life if he wasn’t with his parents.

Witnesses recorded that social workers had once taken Alex to a foster care house when he almost died due to negligence at the age of five.

According to them, the boy thrived in the foster house until his parent regained his custody.

After leaving the foster home, the couples were commended for keeping Alex’s health under control as he gained weight and also progressed well in school.

This commendation continued until 2008 when a doctor noted that Alex’s mother resisted a recommended increase in the boy’s insulin dosage.

Since then, the Hospital never saw the boy again.

During the case, two different social workers, who had tried to follow up on Alex after he stopped going to the Hospital, stated that the couple also withdrew the boy from elementary school.

After relocating, the court found that there were no records of Alex receiving medical treatment while in Alberta.

Court recorded that the young boy was home-schooled and wasn’t allowed to interact with the outside world.

This intentional isolation had a significant effect on the boy that he became so weakened and unable to move.

The judge wrote:

“His muscles had wasted away. His body was covered in painful bedsores; one was so advanced his jaw bone was open visibly. The pain at times must have been unbearable. He was unable to use the toilet. The only evidence of his food intake was baby food.”

In January 2013, a few months before his death, a picture of Alex’s 15th birthday was found.

The picture showed that he had sunken eyes, a weird blemish on his forehead, and a malnourished body.

After days of investigations, the judge concluded that the couples were intentional about the death of their son.

Horner said:

“The evidence underscored that the Raditas was well aware of how ill Alex was and still refused to treat his medical condition with proper insulin protocol and medical care. They knew he was dying.”

Belief Or Sheer Wickedness?

Having heard about the case, many people have wondered the conscience with which Emil and Rodica did what they did.

In addition to being insensitive and overly religious, many have termed their act as gruesome.

Rather than leave him in the hospital for proper care, the Raditas held on to their belief in supernatural healing.

During cross-examination, one of Alex’s siblings told prosecutor Susan Pepper that their parents didn’t heed to medical advice because of their religion.

At the end of the trial, Horner told the couple:

“Your actions… are beyond comprehension. You persisted in arrogant confidence… until he was dead.”

Alex Alert

In a discussion, Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper revealed the details of the trial and how the sentence that followed reflected the magnitude of Alex’s sufferings.

She also stated that the trial showed the loopholes in the society’s safety net.

To her, these loopholes include the fact nobody cared to investigate when the boy disappeared off the education system’s radar.

She said:

“I think it highlights the degree of isolation that Alex lived in. He had no friends or teachers or support or doctors or really anyone. I think that there are probably, unfortunately, children in the same situation as Alex Radita. It would be naïve to think that there are no other children who are being isolated by their parents so those parents can abuse and/or neglect them… As good as our system is, it should be better. That should not happen again.”

One of the social workers who tried saving Alex from is parents, Patricia MacDonald, also expressed her pleasure with the verdict. “I am happy with the verdict. I think that it is justice for Alex. He went through a horrible ending to his life, and I’m glad to see his parents being held accountable.” After seeing the emotional emptiness the couple expressed in court, MacDonald added,

“I feel like they are so empty. They are void of any kind of emotion, any feeling. I have never met parents like them in my life.”

“Alex was a courageous, smart little man, and he would have wanted his life to have had meaning. He would have wanted for it to have brought change for other children.”

According to CBC News, Alexandru’s story has inspired MacDonald to work with Canadian lawmakers to create an ‘Alex Alert’ system.


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