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Officer tells court 15-year-old Alexandru Radita looked 'like a skeleton'

Calgary Herald Calgary Herald 2/06/2016 Kevin Martin
Radica trial © Leah Hennel Radica trial

Warning: This story contains disturbing details

After returning from church to find their son not breathing, the parents of Calgary teenager Alexandru Radita prayed for two hours before calling emergency services, court heard Wednesday.

Shauna Mitchell, an investigator with the Medical Examiner’s office, said she was dispatched to the Citadel Drive N.W. home of Emil and Rodica Radita to look into a sudden death.

She said she asked the couple when they had last seen their son alive.

“They said they went to church at, I think it was after 1800 hours, and they came home at about 2000 hours and that’s when the father said that he wasn’t breathing, so they prayed and they didn’t call EMS until sometime around 2200 hours,” Mitchell said.

She told Crown prosecutor Marta Juzwiak there were multiple members of the couple’s church in the home.

“They were in the home praying together,” Mitchell said.

And she said it was possible the boy wasn’t breathing even before the couple went to church, as she was given conflicting reports from them.

She said the mother said Alexandru was breathing at 6 p.m. that day, but his father said he wasn’t.

Emil, 59, and Rodica, 53, are each charged with first-degree murder in the May 7, 2013, death of their 15-year-old son.

The boy, a diabetic, died from bacterial sepsis due to complications from starvation and neglect.

Both Mitchell and Const. Larry Pugliese, the first police officer on the scene, said the boy was nothing but skin and bones when they saw him dead in his bed.

Pugliese said Alexandru was “like a skeleton.”

He said it was clear to him the teen was dead.

“The boy was extremely thin,” Pugliese told the Court of Queen’s Bench murder trial.

“I thought at the time maybe (he weighed) 20 pounds,” Pugliese said.

Mitchell, too, said the teen was emaciated when she viewed his corpse.

“He basically looked like a skeleton with skin,” she said.

 Pugliese said when he arrived at the couple’s home, emergency medical services personnel were already there.

“My first instinct was he was dead and they weren’t working on him,” he told Juzwiak.

“His shirt was off and he had ribs protruding,” Pugliese said.
 
Pugliese said he was present when Mitchell quizzed the couple on Alexandru’s medical status leading up to his death.

“She . . . asked why they didn’t call EMS earlier in the day, and Emil said he had told Alexandru he needed to go to the hospital but he refused, he didn’t like to go to the hospital because he had a bad experience when he was three years old,” the officer explained.
 
And the mother doubted the diagnosis of her son as suffering from diabetes, Pugliese said.

“She didn’t believe that he was a diabetic, but still had insulin in the fridge and she gave it to him daily.”

The trial continues Thursday.

KMartin@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/@KMartinCourts

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