NEWS
06/02/2016 12:36 EDT | Updated 06/03/2017 01:12 EDT

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

CALGARY — A starved, diabetic teen was severely underweight and covered in ulcers when Alberta's chief medical examiner did an autopsy following the boy's death.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jeffery Gofton detailed his examination of Alexandru Radita at the trial of his parents on Thursday.

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

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 wearing a diaper, looked like a skeleton, had very little body fat and was severely underweight for his age.

He 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."

Gofton said there were several signs of "neglect and starvation."

He 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." 

In his report Gofton described the boy's overall general condition as that of a "skeletal appearance." His hair was noted to be thin, his eyes were sunken and his teeth were in an extreme state of disrepair.

Gofton said it appears most of the teeth had rotted and there was no sign of any dental work.

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.

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