Prosecutors say Canada couple treated toddler's fatal meningitis with ginger root, maple syrup

By Doug G. Ware  |  March 9, 2016 at 8:45 PM
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LETHBRIDGE, Alberta, March 9 (UPI) -- A Canadian jury on Wednesday continued to hear arguments in the trial of an Alberta couple charged with neglecting the medical needs of their 19-month-old son, who died of meningitis four years ago.

David and Collet Stephan are charged with denying necessities of life by not seeking medical help for their toddler son, Ezekiel.

The couple, prosecutors say, instead provided the boy with numerous home remedies -- such as garlic, ginger root, olive leaf extract, and even maple syrup -- which did not succeed in fighting off the child's deadly viral infection.

The trial of the Stephans, who were formally charged in the boy's death in 2013, began Monday with prosecutors arguing that the child's severe illness should have prompted his parents to seek immediate medical treatment.

David, 32, and Collet, 35, finally took Ezekiel to a doctor the day before he died in March 2012, when the boy stopped breathing. Doctors said he had a lung infection that developed into viral meningitis.

"I'm not saying they killed him, abused him or ignored him -- they loved him," prosecutor Clayton Giles said. "They didn't take him to a doctor until it was too late -- far too late."

It has been reported that the couple hesitated to take the boy in for medical treatment due to previous negative experiences they had with the mainstream medical system.

"Collet and I would Love to express our gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of Love," a Facebook page titled "Prayers for Ezekiel," which asks for donations to help the Stephans fight their prosecution, wrote this week.

The post describes multiple "attacks" on various crowdfunding pages that have been set up to assist the couple in their court fight.

"And [the attackers] were successful at what they were doing as with the limited amount of fundraising we could do over this past week, we gratefully generated approximately $1000," it reads. "However we were previously generating that much per day and the past week of court alone will have cost us over $10,000."

"So the question is, will we ever be free? Free from the turmoil... free from the attacks," the post added.

The couple's nutritional supplement company, Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., was the target of an unsuccessful government effort in 2004 to block distribution of a product regarding claims it could help manage mental illnesses, Australia's 9News reported.

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