David Stephan, 32, and his wife Collet Stephan, 35, have pleaded not guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for their 19-month-old son Ezekiel.
The couple have faced numerous lawsuits in the past with their
According to the CBC, the southern Alberta couple are “accused of allowing their meningitis-infected toddler to die [after they] tried home remedies such as olive leaf extract and whey protein rather than take him to a doctor.”
The couple owns a supplements company called “Truehope Nutritional Support” that has received a lot of legal problems in the past.
That might explain why, instead of taking their sick child to a doctor, the couple decided to give Ezekiel home remedies to boost his immunity, including "water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root."
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?”
The parents allegedly were aware that the kid was sick for weeks but only called the ambulance when the toddler stopped breathing—before that, they treated his worsening symptoms with home remedies until it was “too late—far too late,” Giles continued.
In an interview, Collet explained that “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 went on to say that she had a friend who was a registered nurse come take a look at Ezekiel, and that her friend suggested it could be meningitis. The couple then visited a naturopathic doctor in Lethbridge who gave them a treatment for viral meningitis, but never actually examined Ezekiel.
The Stephan’s have remained vocal on social media, claiming that the government is trying to “compel” people to vaccinate their children “through fear of criminal prosecution.”
“The situation that Collet and I find ourselves in, is that there is an organization that is attempting to offer our family up on the sacrificial altar of the vaccine industry,” one of the posts reads.
Despite the fact that their approach to health is a direct cause of their child’s death, the Stephan’s continue to assert that it is their choice and it should be respected.
Banner Image Credit: Prayers For Ezekial/Facebook