Case adjourned against Calgary parents accused of murdering son
Following four weeks of testimony, the trial of a Calgary couple accused of murdering their teenage son in 2013 has been adjourned to the fall.
Emil and Rodica Radita are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of their 15-year-old son Alex who was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age.
Prosecutors say the pair killed him by slowly starving him and neglecting to give him the medical care his condition required.
During the four-week trial, it became more and more clear that the system also failed him.
Alex Radita weighed just 37 pounds on his 15th birthday, dying about three months later.
The boy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was just three years old. The condition is fairly simple to control with regular insulin injections, but the court heard that the Raditas withheld those injections while they lived in Surrey, B.C.
Rodica Radita had the belief that ‘God would make him better’.
Alex was hospitalized three times due to complications related to his disease and soon social workers stepped in to help.
At five years old he was moved into a foster home and was improving while his diabetes was being kept in check.
However, a year later, a B.C. judge ruled that he could return to his parents.
Back in his parents’ care, Alex stopped attending school and the family soon moved. B.C. government closed his file once the family left for Alberta in 2009.
A B.C. social worker had found the Radita’s Calgary address, but it was not her duty to inform Alberta authorities.
It would take three years before legislation was passed in every province except Quebec to instruct social workers to take such action.
In four years of living in Alberta, Alex never saw a doctor and never went to school.
Many hope that his story will work towards a positive change.
“Child welfare systems in Canada need a significant overhaul and perhaps if Alex’s case stands for anything, it may stand for a call to action,” said Mark Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a B.C. Child and Youth Representative.
Issues have also been discovered in Alberta, because Alex was registered for homeschool, but never submitted any work. The school overseeing his education soon lost contact with the family.
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education says that highlights where homeschooling and medical neglect intersect.
“We don’t even know how many people on this block are being isolated, homeschooled, not being taught anything, not being given medical care, being abused, we don’t even know because no one’s even counting them,” said Sarah Henderson with the group.
The trial has been adjourned until the fall while the presiding judge considers whether or not to admit the Radita’s history in B.C. as evidence in the case.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)