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Judge urges cross-boundary alerts after Calgary teen died from neglect

This photo of Alex Radita was taken at his 15th birthday party about three months before his death and shows he was already showing signs of emaciation. (Court exhibit - image credit)
This photo of Alex Radita was taken at his 15th birthday party about three months before his death and shows he was already showing signs of emaciation. (Court exhibit - image credit)

A judge is recommending an alert information-sharing system among provinces for high-risk children to protect youth like 15-year-old Alexandru Radita of Calgary, who died weighing 37 pounds.

Justice Sharon Van de Veen, in a fatality inquiry report released Monday, said such standardized cross-boundary communication "may very well have saved Alex's life and (could) prevent similar deaths in the future."

In May 2013, the severely malnourished boy was rushed to hospital but later died from sepsis and untreated diabetes.

His parents, Emil and Rodica Radita, were found guilty in 2017 of first-degree murder.

Court heard they had refused to accept Alex had diabetes when he was initially diagnosed with the disease in 2000 while living in British Columbia.

He was hospitalized twice in B.C. due to malnutrition and taken into foster care then returned to his parents.

The family moved to Alberta in 2008. The boy's case file in B.C. had been closed, so child welfare officials in Alberta were unaware that he was potentially in danger.

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
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

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 was near death repeatedly when hospitalized as a result of his parents' resistance to provide the necessary insulin he needed to survive, but his file had been closed for some time," wrote Van de Veen.

The inquest questioned school, medical and government officials from Alberta and B.C.

Alex was not registered in school for four years before his death, and he received irregular and insufficient amounts of insulin from pharmaceutical companies throughout that time without a physician's oversight.

Van de Veen said stakeholders in the proposed cross-boundary alert system would include educational and pharmaceutical authorities.

The judge further recommended school boards implement a wellness check system for students with local police agencies.

Other high-profile cases examined

Van de Veen's report also examined two other high-profile Calgary cases involving children who died because they had not received medical treatment.

Ryan Lovett, 7, died from a strep infection in 2013. His mother Tamara Lovett, convicted of criminal negligence causing death, testified she gave her son holistic remedies for what she believed was a cold or flu.

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark were found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life for their 14-month-old son, John, in 2013. The boy was malnourished and died from a staph infection.