Calgary murder trial hears diabetic teen was malnourished, covered in ulcers

By , on June 3, 2016


Alexandru "Alex" Radita, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation. (Facebook photo)
Alexandru “Alex” Radita, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation. (Facebook photo)

CALGARY—A starved, diabetic teen was severely underweight, covered in ulcers and nearly toothless when Alberta’s chief medical examiner did an autopsy.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jeffery Gofton testified at the trial of the boy’s parents on Thursday that there were several signs that the boy had been subjected to “neglect and starvation.”

Emil Radita, 59, and his wife Rodica Radita, 53, are charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of 15-year-old Alexandru.

The boy, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

Gofton said the victim was skeletal in appearance with thin hair and sunken eyes. He said the boy was wearing a diaper, had very little body fat and was severely underweight for his age.

He said Alexandru’s teeth were in an extreme state of disrepair and it appeared most had rotted “down to the root” with no sign of any dental work.

Gofton said the boy’s body was covered with ulcers—mostly pressure sores—although one on his neck was so bad the boy’s salivary glands were exposed.

“I saw tissues in the neck showing extensive tissue necrosis and near liquefaction which means the tissues have just gone to liquid,” Gofton testified.

“It means the usual structures that are present of the neck muscles are no longer present.”

Gofton said a total of 44 ulcers were found on Alexandru’s body. Some had healed but the majority had not. The neck wound was the worst.

“There’s no indication that Alexandru’s been to a hospital in Alberta or received ongoing regular follow up treatment for his disease,” he testified.

“The neck wound itself is an emergency. When that appears, that needs a medical, if not surgical, treatment.”

Court heard the boy had been home-schooled.

Gofton said Alexandru was in the fifth percentile for his body weight, had very little musculature and virtually no fat reserves. The child’s abdominal fat was between 0.1 and 0.2 centimetres compared with a “svelte” teenager who would have had one centimetre of fat, which is used to fight off illness and infection.

“It’s actually off the chart, so that goes to starvation.”

Testimony on Wednesday from an investigator working in the medical examiner’s office indicated that the family said Alexandru was alive when they went to church, but not breathing when they came home two hours later.

The family and members of the church prayed for two hours before calling 911.

Gofton said it was difficult to determine exactly when Alexandru died. He said the official time of death was 10:16 p.m. on May 7, 2013, when paramedics examined him but he could have died as long as 24 hours before that.