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Published 2021-12-30
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15-Year-Old Died Of Starvation. Parents Refused To Help Him?

Working in social services is most certainly no easy job. People who work in those positions have undoubtedly seen some horrifying and shocking things that will stay with them for a long time. If things get even worse despite their intervention, it can cause feelings of guilt for those involved. And it could be said that the case of Alexandru Radita, a 15-year-old boy from Canada, who had died from starvation in his family home. What exactly happened? How did the boy end up in such a condition? Were his parent’s religious beliefs to blame for the tragedy? And why did things get so bad despite social services intervening several years prior? Read on to find out about the tragic story of Alexandru.

First Intervention

Alexandru’s first medical crisis happened not long before the boy turned three. It was December 2000 and his parents had brought him to a hospital in British Columbia. The boy, who was one of eight children, was thirsty, feverish, he was vomiting and suffering from abdominal pains. After running some lab tests, it was confirmed that the young Alex had Type 1 diabetes. A doctor spoke to the boy’s mother and explained to her his diagnosis and how the parents would need to treat him at home, as well as all about regular blood tests and injecting insulin. Though according to later court documents, Mrs. Radita had made it clear at the time that in her view, the diagnosis was incorrect and that she would prove to the doctors that they were wrong. But that would be just the start of the tragic life of the boy. Read on to find out what happened.

First Intervention

The Next Hospital Visit

The next hospital visit took place in 2003 when Alexandru was just 5-years-old and he and his family were living in British Columbia. He was admitted suffering from hypoglycemia and at the time his mother had told doctors that they had not taken him for medical care for two years. The doctor noted that the boy was “within one day of death”. After that, Alex was placed in foster care where he had remained throughout 2004. In December that year, a judge in British Columbia ruled that Alexandru could be returned to his parents. At the time, judge J.G Cohen had said that the Radita’s had accepted the diagnosis of diabetes and would treat their son. They were also under the watchful eye of schoolteachers and a family doctor who would notify authorities if his condition changed. Even though his social-worker Patricia MacDonald fought against that decision, the boy returned to live with his parents in January 2005.

The Next Hospital Visit

Father’s Forum Posts

During the court case letters written by the boy’s father, Emil Radita were brought up. He posted them to an online message board for the Romanian community in 2004 indicated that there was nothing in his religious beliefs that barred him from seeing doctors. However, the issue was the fact that he had developed a deep mistrust of them in Canada after claiming Alex had been forcibly handled at a hospital. He wrote that his son’s “diabetes” had been misdiagnosed, and he accused doctors of “teaming up against us” to tear apart their family. He further went on to write, “We believe in God and His power of healing, but we know also God is the One who organizes everything on Earth, and therefore, doctors are in His plan too. But confessing that in the front of one doctor, cost us time spent in the front of a court of justice, 4 times in 3 years, and we are not done yet. Family Services want to take one of my boys from us.” But did anything change in the boy’s life? Read on to find out.

Father’s Forum Posts

Things Looking Up?

Despite all this mistrust and denying the diagnosis it seemed that Alex’s parents had taken to heart what the judge had ordered as for about two years, they were commended for keeping Alex’s diabetes under control. He had slowly gained weight and progressed three grades at school. However, as court records would later show, during his last known clinic visit in January 2008, a doctor had noted that the boy’s mother was resisting a recommended increase in her son’s insulin dosage out of mistaken fear it was causing cold sores. After that, the doctor never saw Alexandru again and it was around that time, or the year after that the Radita’s had moved from British Columbia to Alberta.

Things Looking Up?

Social Worker Wants To Find Out What Happened

A social worker who had first met the family in 2000 at the time had revealed that she tried to unsuccessfully follow up with the Radita’s for about a month after they had missed a January 2009 doctor’s appointment. During a trial, another social worker had testified and revealed that she found out that the boy had been withdrawn from his last elementary school, near Vancouver, the previous September. There were no records of Alex having received medical exams or services while in Alberta, however, prescription records showed thousands of dollars of diabetes-related drugs and equipment such as insulin, syringes, and test strips, purchased between 2009 and 2012. In January 2013, just a few months before the boy’s death, the family posted a photo of the boy at his 15th birthday party, which showed him with sunken eyes and a mysterious blotch on his forehead. But what happened that caused the boy to lose his life? Read on to find out.

Alexandru’s Death

It was a little more than a decade after the first social-services interaction with the family when on May 7th, 2013, 15-year-old Alexandru Radita passed away in his family’s home in Calgary, Alberta, bedridden and emaciated. According to reports, the boy had weighed less than 37 pounds at the time of his death, and the emergency workers who attended the boy detailed the disturbing scene they saw. According to the reports, the boy was so thin that he appeared ‘mummified’, his face had no visible flesh left as she could see every bone in his face. The boy had black, necrotic sores on his face and his left jaw had open sores so deep that the paramedic could see his jaw bone. The autopsy had revealed that the cause of death was bacterial sepsis, which was brought on by starvation and neglect.

Social Worker Wants To Find Out What Happened

Parent’s Arrest

Alexandru’s parents were arrested in early 2014 and were charged with the murder of their son. An investigator into the boy’s death spoke in court against them and said that the parents had left for church around 6 pm and they came home at around 8 pm and it was around then that his father said that their son wasn’t breathing. But instead of calling the emergency services, they had spent the next two hours praying before finally calling EMS. During the court case, it was also revealed that on the night of Alex’s death, about half-dozen people from the Radita’s church visited their family home. Nicolae Brancu, a Romanian Apostolic Church pastor who testified in court revealed that upon arrival they went straight to the 15-year-old’s bedroom where Alex lay and he knew immediately that he was dead. As he recalled, Mrs. Radita was lying beside him on the bed and touching him, and he told her to call an ambulance but the father did that only after speaking to his family first. It also came to light that as EMS workers arrived, they found the group chanting in the living room.

Alexandru’s Death

The Court Case

During the trial, one of the boy’s seven siblings had testified and revealed that their mother was particularly fond of Alex. According to CBC News reporting on the court case when the sister was asked if her parents didn’t believe in doctors because of their religion, she said yes, and then when asked if when her brother got sick he never went to see a doctor, she once again said yes. As per The Canadian Press, Judge Karen Horner had said the parents intended to and did isolate their son from anyone who could intervene or monitor his insulin treatment aside from themselves. Speaking candidly, she also said, “His physical condition at death was not sudden or quick occurrence but rather took place over months and possibly, probably years.”

The Radita’s Sentencing

In the end, both Emil and Rodica Radita, parents of the boy were convicted of first-degree murder. During their sentencing, the press had commented on how the parents had shown no emotion as the judge Karen Horner sentenced them both to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. After the trial, Alexandru’s social worker Patricia MacDonald was fighting back tears, calling the verdict “justice for Alex”. Speaking with the press she said, “He went through a horrendous, horrible ending to his life and I’m glad to see his parents being held accountable.” According to CBC News, MacDonald now hopes that she can work with Canadian lawmakers to create an ‘Alex Alert’ system, similar to ‘Amber Alerts’, so that others might not suffer the same way that the 15-year-old did.

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