Calgary

Alex Radita so emaciated he was 'off the charts,' murder trial hears

Alex Radita was so emaciated that he was "off the charts," according to the medical examiner who preformed the autopsy on the starved boy and placed him in less than the 0.1 percentile for 15-year-olds based on weight and height.

WARNING: This story contains 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 was so emaciated that his body was unable to fight a fatal infection, according to the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on the starved boy and placed him in less than the 0.1 percentile for 15-year-olds based on his weight and height.

"[That] doesn't put him anywhere near or on the chart," Dr. Jeffery Gofman testified Thursday. "It's off the chart."

Alex's parents, Rodica and Emil Radita, are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the teen's death in May 2013. 

One by one, Gofman clinically described the 44 wounds that covered the four-foot-three-inch teen's 37-pound emaciated body — from the bridge of his nose to the bottom of his feet.

Died of bacterial sepsis

One toe was gangrenous. One of the wounds on his neck was black and so deep, his salivary gland was exposed and the neck tissues were "near liquefaction."

It was this wound that "most likely" allowed bacteria into the teen's bloodstream, Gofman says.
Parents Rodica and Emil Radita, on trial for first-degree murder, are being held in custody. (CBC)

The frail, ill boy's body would not have been in the physical condition to be able to fight infection, according to Gofman.

"It would be overwhelming for him," he said.

Gofman concluded that Alex died of bacterial sepsis — bacteria that infected the blood — brought on by complications from neglect and starvation.

Alex was also suffering from kidney infection at the time of his death, Gofman testified.

Gastrointestinal areas of Alex's body that would normally be filled with fat were completely devoid of it.

"To me that suggests a real circumstance of starvation," said Gofman.

No insulin or pain meds found

There was no evidence of any medication in Alex's body — not insulin or pain medication.

The boy had a skeletal appearance, thin hair, sunken eyes and his teeth were "in an extreme state of disrepair," said Gofman.

His report took about nine months to complete, once he was able to analyze medical information from Alex's time in B.C.

Alex was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was a toddler and his family lived in Surrey, B.C. He was hospitalized numerous times.

Earlier in the Court of Queen's Bench judge-alone trial, Justice Karen Horner heard evidence that the family had a history of refusing to treat Alex's diabetes.

He was seized from them for a year by B.C. social services after he nearly died. The judge has yet to rule on the admissibility of the B.C. evidence.

Gofman also found there was no evidence Alex had ever been to see a doctor after the family moved to Alberta five years ago.

Kindergarten teacher heartbroken

Alex Radita's kindergarten teacher Sandy Wong sat quietly in the back row taking in the graphic evidence presented to the court on Day 6.

The seats in the gallery had been empty but for a handful of reporters up to this point.

Wong, who recently moved from B.C. to Cochrane, said she only learned of the circumstances of Alex's death before the trial began.

She has since written a letter to B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development.

"We live in a broken world and we're all flawed individuals. Mistakes are made," wrote Wong. 

"I believe that Alex was failed on so many levels by so many flawed people."

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