Southern Alberta family accused in death of son speaking out about threats
The family of a former southern Alberta couple, charged with the death of their young son, is speaking out about numerous threats of death and violence they’ve been getting online.
David and Collet Stephan are on trial in Lethbridge, charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life for their 19-month-old son Ezekiel.
The boy contracted a lung infection back, which the parents believed was a case of croup.
The infection soon developed into meningitis, leading to Ezekiel’s death in March 2012.
Their trial is only through its first week, but David’s brother Daniel says the family’s confidence is being rocked by the amount of threats leveled at them through social media.
Daniel says he’s concerned about their safety, because they’ve been receiving a long list of threats. “Everything from threats to kill, throw people under a bus, torture, rape.”
He says they are coming in from sources all around the world, and they’re taking them all very seriously.
His family has been getting support and opposition ever since David and Collet were charged back in 2013, but the exposure is adding another challenge to the situation.
“They did what they thought they needed to do to look after this child and, unfortunately, through some other news sources, some things were taken out of context as to what’s actually been going on and what the jurors are hearing in the courtroom.”
So far, the jury has heard that couple first thought that Ezekiel was suffering from croup and attempted to treat him with natural remedies and homemade smoothies.
The family says they called 911 when the child stopped breathing and appeared to be in medical distress.
According to the Medical Examiner, Ezekiel died of bacterial meningitis, an infection that prevented oxygen from getting through his lungs.
The Stephans contend that the long wait for an ambulance and improper equipment both contributed to the boy’s death.
As for the threats, Daniel says a formal complaint has been filed with the Raymond RCMP.
He says they’ve advised him to speak with the Lethbridge Police department to request security for the family.
(With files from Kaella Carr)