Calgary

Tamara Lovett searched for health information weeks before her son died, trial hears

The Calgary woman on trial for the death of her seven-year-old son told police it didn't occur to her to take him to a hospital until the day before he died, but a digital forensics expert testified Friday she had been searching online for related health information for weeks prior.

Calgary woman told police the day of her son's death she only recently realized the extent of his illness

Tamara Lovett is on trial for refusing to take her seven-year-old son, Ryan, to a doctor. He died in 2013. (Facebook/YouTube)

The Calgary woman on trial for the death of her seven-year-old son told police it didn't occur to her to take him to a hospital until the day before he died, but a digital forensics expert testified Friday she had been searching online for related health information for weeks prior.

The search terms included words like "children," "swollen groin," "seven-year-old," "pain," "jaundice," "darkened urine," "anemia," "loss of appetite," "kids sick" and "natural cures," Gary Lee Novokowsky testified at the trial of Tamara Lovett.

She is charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life to her son, Ryan Alexander Lovett.

Ryan was found dead on March 2, 2013 by paramedics who responded to the family's home after Lovett called 911 in a panic, saying her son was having convulsions.

Court heard the boy was covered in vomit and cold to the touch by the time paramedics and police arrived at the apartment building and found him lying in a hallway.

Ryan had been sick for weeks and his health had seriously deteriorated in the 10 days before his death, according to evidence presented at the trial.

Lovett tried to treat his illness with dandelion tea and oil of oregano, court heard, and he ultimately died of massive organ failure, suffering from meningitis, pneumonia and a strep infection at the time of his death.

Dr. Taj Jadavji testified that Ryan's death could have been prevented with "a very simple penicillin" early on to address the strep infection.

Interview with police

Lovett was taken into police custody and interviewed the day Ryan died.

In a video played in court Friday, she can be heard crying while alone in the interview room.

"Oh my God, Ryan! Ryan!" she says, amid sobs. "Oh, oh Ryan. Oh baby. Oh baby, baby, baby." 

Later in the video, she has calmed down and is being asked by a police officer about her son's illness and when she realized he was in need of medical attention.

"Earlier yesterday, when he presented with the yellow, the jaundiced eyes, that was like, 'OK, if this starts to escalate, you've got to think about taking him to the hospital,'" Lovett says in the video.

"That was the first time it entered into my mind in terms of having to do that, like you may just have to take him to the hospital and deal with this."

The forensic expert who analyzed Lovett's computer, however, said her online history included searches as early as Feb. 6 for "swollen," "groin lymph nodes" and "children."

Novokowsky testified that the searches persisted for weeks, right up until the day before Ryan died, when Lovett searched for things like "jaundice," "groin lymph pain children" and "dandelion jaundice alternative treatments."

The trial continues Monday, when Lovett, herself, may testify.

With files from Kate Adach

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