Jury trial begins for southern Alberta parents accused in toddler’s death


The Crown says the parents of a toddler who died of meningitis should have got him medical attention long before he stopped breathing.David Stephan, who is 32, and his wife Collet Stephan, who is 35, have pleaded not guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life for 18-month-old Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.In his opening statement, Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles said, “the jury needs to answer this question: at what point should the accused have taken Ezekiel to the doctor?” Story continues below


Trial begins for David and Collet Stephan after death of 18-month-old son

“I’m not saying they killed him, abused him or ignored him—they loved him,” he said. “They didn’t take him to a doctor until it was too late—far too late.”The first witness to take the stand is an RCMP officer who interviewed the couple separately at the Alberta Children’s Hospital while Ezekiel was on life support.As part of his testimony, an audio recording was played of the officer’s interview with Collet.In the interview, she said about two weeks prior, her son had a runny nose, fever and was having trouble breathing. She said she looked up his symptoms online and thought it might be croup (a respiratory infection). She then began giving him as much natural product as possible. She said he started to improve for a few days, but then became weak and lethargic again.Collet said she called a registered nurse to come check his condition, who suggested it may be meningitis.Collet said she and David visited a naturopathic doctor in Lethbridge who gave them a treatment for viral meningitis, but never actually examined Ezekiel.The parents gave Ezekiel the treatment and Collet told RCMP they saw improvement right away, but after a nap he woke up and didn’t seem as alert.He quit breathing, prompting Collet to start CPR. David called 911, and the couple started to drive to meet the ambulance.Collet said he quit breathing a few times during the drive and started to turn blue.The couple then met the ambulance and the paramedics took over.In the afternoon, the jury heard a similar interview between David and RCMP.The trial in Lethbridge is being heard by a jury of eight women and four men.The trial is scheduled to continue until March 24.With files from CJOC   

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