Alex Radita was one of eight children, a diabetic boy who died a horrific and painful death in 2013 from starvation and complications brought on by his untreated diabetes. His death ended years of neglect and isolation at the hands of his cruel parents.
— NEWS 1130 (@NEWS1130) February 25, 2017
The New York Daily News reported that Alex’s Canadian parents have been found guilty of first-degree murder. According to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Karen Horner, 60-year-old Emil Radita and 54-year-old Rodica Radita were equally responsible for the death of their son.
“Mr. and Mrs. Radita intended to and did isolate Alex from anyone who could intervene or monitor his insulin treatment aside for themselves.”
Alex was diabetic, and Justice Horner stated that he died due to bacterial sepsis caused by extreme starvation. She also added that Alex’s parents knew exactly what they were doing when they refused their son the proper doses of insulin.
“They knew he was dying.”
CBC News reported that because there was planning and forcible confinement by the couple, they would be found guilty of first-degree murder of their teenage son. Alex’s parents have been in custody since they were arrested, and on Friday both were given life sentences.
— Calgary Herald (@calgaryherald) February 25, 2017
Justice Horner said Alex was kept in purposeful isolation by his parents and had no contact with anyone who could have intervened, like a teacher or doctor.
In an interesting twist of fate, it seems that the Raditas had another child who had been taken by social services a decade earlier because the parents refused to allow their sick infant to be treated at a hospital. They also had a baby who died in the 1990s.
In the final arguments at the murder trial of Emil and Rodica Radita, the prosecutor said that Alex was “doomed.” Throughout the trial, Justice Horner heard evidence of the Raditas refusing to properly treat their son’s condition, which began when he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was aged just two. The parents were well aware that their son had diabetes, and how it should be treated.
“Your actions… are beyond comprehension. You persisted in arrogant confidence… until he was dead.”
Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper said the ruling and sentences imposed reflected the magnitude of Alex’s suffering. In addition, she noted that there were flaws in the social safety net that led to Alex’s death, including the fact that this little boy was able to disappear off the education system’s radar and nobody noticed.
“I think it really highlights the degree of isolation that Alex lived in. He had no friends or teachers or support people or doctors, or really anyone.”
— GYFHAS ن (@GYFHAS) February 25, 2017
The Washington Post reported that Alex’s parents didn’t believe in doctors. Alex’s first medical crisis began just before he turned 3-years-old: he was taken to a hospital in British Columbia, feverish, thirsty, vomiting, and suffering from abdominal pain. It was then confirmed that he had type 1 diabetes.
A doctor explained the situation to Alex’s mother and how he would need to be treated at home. However, she had other ideas, according to court documents.
“Mrs. Radita… made it clear that in her view the diagnosis was incorrect and she would prove that the doctors were wrong.”
And so Alex died in the family home in Calgary, Alberta, bedridden and emaciated. At 15-years-old, this poor boy weighed less than 37 pounds.
The following describes the state of Alex Radita when he was discovered by an emergency worker his parents’ bedroom in May of 2013.
“She described him as emaciated to the point where he appeared ‘mummified.’ His face had no visible flesh left as she could see every bone in his face. He 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. He was dressed in a diaper and t-shirt. His eyes were open. He was not breathing.”
An autopsy found that the cause of Alex’s death was bacterial sepsis, brought on by starvation and neglect.
— Nancy Hixt (@NancyHixt) February 24, 2017
Alex’s parents were arrested in 2014, and then last week, after a month-long trial, Emil and Rodica Radita were found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of their son.
Justice Horner said that because Alex was reportedly home-schooled, he had little contact with the outside world. His parents intentionally isolated him from anyone who could intervene, and this had a profound effect on Alex, who was so weak by now that he had trouble moving.
“His muscles had wasted away. His body was covered in painful bedsores, one was so advanced his jaw bone was openly visible. 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.”
Today, four years after Alex’s death, questions still remain as to why the family refused to ask for help in the final years of Alex’s life. One of Alex’s siblings testified that, because of their religion, their family didn’t believe in doctors, but the Raditas belonged to the Romanian Apostolic Church, and there doesn’t appear to be any doctrine that bears this out.
In Canada, Emil Radita had developed a deep mistrust of doctors. He said that his son’s diabetes had been misdiagnosed and accused the doctors of teaming up against the family to tear them apart.
“We believe in God and in 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.”
Hopefully, Alex’s death will bring about changes in possible gaps in Canada’s social safety nets.
Alex Radita's last birthday – Parents starved their diabetic 15 year old boy to death. pic.twitter.com/VjJ1xWzenL
—? (@OUAMAD1) September 16, 2016
In a rather sad twist to this story, Alex had been placed in foster care in 2003 when it was revealed he had not received medical care for two years. At that time, a doctor noted that Alex was “within one day of death.” He stayed in foster care throughout 2004, and Patricia MacDonald, Alex’s social worker, recalled visiting him at his foster mother’s home. MacDonald prepared a victim impact statement for the trial.
“We were both so proud of you and how well you understand your diabetes. Your foster parents encouraged independence and had a range of food you could choose from. Alex, you were so engaging when you attended appointments at the children’s diabetes centre. All the staff were delighted to see you. However these positive memories are shrouded by the torment that you must have experienced through all those years that followed.”
Sadly, it was ruled by a judge in British Columbia in December of 2004 that Alex should be returned to his parents.
— NewsParot (@newsparot) June 14, 2016
Fighting back tears last week, MacDonald called the verdict “justice for Alex.”
“He went through a horrendous, horrible ending to his life, and I’m glad to see his parents being held accountable. Alex was a very brave, a very smart little man, and he would have wanted for his life to have had meaning. He would have wanted for it to have brought about change for other children.”
[Featured Image by Etaphop/Shutterstock]