Calgary

Radita murder trial: teen suffered for months leading to death, diabetes expert testifies

Alex Radita was suffering for months leading up to his death, according to a paediatric diabetes expert who testified at the first-degree murder trial for Alex's parents, Emil and Rodica Radita.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers

Alex Radita as a teen (left) in his parents care and as a six-year-old (right) while in the care of a foster family in British Columbia (Facebook)

Alex Radita — who was extremely emaciated when died — was suffering for months leading up to his death, according to a paediatric diabetes expert who testified at the first-degree murder trial for Alex's parents, Emil and Rodica Radita.

Dr. Daniele Pacaud, a University of Calgary professor who works at the Alberta Children's Hospital, said that Alex's height and weight put him in less than the first percentile of children according to data used by the World Health Organization.

Alex Radita, 15, weighed 37 pounds at the time of his death in May 2014.

His parents' murder trial began before Justice Karen Horner on Tuesday.

Emile, 59, and Rodica, 53, had their son seized by B.C. social services in 2004 after he nearly died because they refused to treat his diabetes — the same allegations they now face in relation to his death, according to Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper.

Aside from being emaciated, Alex was also covered in about 30 bedsores. Pacaud testified that he should have been seen by a medical professional after the first one occurred.

One of the necrotic sores was on his neck and was so deep it appeared to be down to the bone and would have required surgery to treat.

Pacaud testified it would have taken weeks or months to reach that state.

Photos of Alex taken three months before his death on his 15th birthday were shown to Pacaud who said he was already visibly ill.

"He already looks very emaciated," she said. "He would have needed medical attention then."

Rodica, right, and Emil Radita are on trial for first-degree murder in connection with the death of their son, Alex, 15. (CBC)

Children rarely die from diabetes according to Pacaud who said Alex was in a "significant state of starvation" 

Justice Horner refused to release photos of Alex in his bed that were taken by police after paramedics found him without any vital signs.

Horner called the photos "truly horrific" and said the images were too graphic to even allow members of the media to view them.

On Tuesday, the first paramedic in the home testified that when she walked into his bedroom, she didn't understand what she was looking at.

"[Alex was] emaciated to the fact that he looked mummified," testified Deborah Baumback, who said there was "nothing left" of the child.

Pacaud testified that the life expectancy gap has closed between those with Type 1 diabetes and those without; today there is just a seven year difference.

Defence lawyers Jim Lutz and Andrea Serink who represent Emil and Rodica respectively, have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Pacaud.

now