Parents given life in jail for starving son to death
WARNING: Distressing content
THE parents of a teenage boy who died as a result of starvation and untreated diabetes have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years.
Alexandru Radita, 15, weighed just 16kg when he was found dead at his home in Calgary, Canada after suffering years of untreated diabetes.
His parents Emil, 60, and Rodica Radita, 54, had made it their mission to isolate Alex from anyone who could monitor his insulin treatment since his diagnosis at the age of two, a court heard.
The Raditas were found guilty of first degree murder on Friday at the end of a trial that saw harrowing testimony from witnesses, including a social worker who tried desperately to save the boy.
Paramedic Deborah Baumback gave distressing evidence regarding the condition of Alex's body when she was called to the scene of his death in 2013.
"She described him as emaciated to the point where he appeared 'mummified'," Judge Karen Horner said at the couple's sentencing hearing.
"His face had no visible flesh left and his left jaw had open sores so deep she could see his jawbone.
"There was nothing left of his stomach as he was just so extraordinarily skinny. She estimated his waist line to be approximately three inches. He was dressed in a diaper and a T-shirt. His eyes were open. He was not breathing."
The court heard there was no doubt that the Raditas, who have seven other children, knew the damage they were inflicting on Alex. They actively prevented him from receiving treatment and ensured he was "completely reliant" on them.
"Mr and Ms Radita intended to and did isolate Alex from anyone who could intervene or monitor his insulin treatment aside from themselves," Judge Horner said, CTV News reported.
"Alex died as a result of bacterial sepsis brought on by extreme starvation. His physical condition at death was not a sudden or quick occurrence but rather took place over months and possibly, probably years.
"The evidence underscores that the Raditas were well aware how ill Alex was and still refused to treat his medical condition with proper insulin protocol and medical care. They knew he was dying."
Witnesses testified that the couple refused to accept that their son had diabetes and failed to treat his disease until he had to be admitted to hospital near death in British Columbia in 2003.
Following his time in hospital, Alex had been placed in foster care where he reportedly thrived. Tragically, less than a year later, a court ruled that he should be returned to his parents, who subsequently moved their family out of the area.
During the trial, a social worker who fought desperately to keep Alex in foster care, likened the decision by Judge J.G Cohen to a "death sentence".
Patricia Macdonald did everything in her power to stop the then five-year-old boy from being returned to his parents in 2004 after he was seized by social services the year before.
At the time of his 2003 removal, Alex had been emaciated from untreated diabetes and so close to death that one doctor testified he would have had just hours to live if he didn't receive treatment.
"I had to hold on to the bench in front of me and I just said under my breath, 'He's just sentenced Alex to death,'" Ms Macdonald told CBS after completing her testimony last week.