Two Mormon parents, who’re both ‘anti-vaxx’, are accused of letting their son die from meningitis, opting for home remedies over traditional medicines.
David and Collet Stephan, owners of a nutritional supplement company, pleaded non-guilty to the charges leading to the death of their 19-month-old son Ezekiel.
Prosecutors in Alberta, Canada, claims the couple didn’t call for an ambulance until the toddler stopped breathing. Instead, they gave him supplements through an eyedropper and stayed with him.
The couple says a friend told them they thought their child had meningitis (inflammation caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain/spine), and instead of going to a doctor, attempted to beef up the infant’s immune system. They fed him an odd, steady diet of olive leaf extract, whey protein, water with maple syrup, and juice with frozen berries.
After two weeks, and Ezekiel becoming lethargic and stiff, they changed to a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, hot peppers, onion, garlic and ginger root.
The child was airlifted to the hospital; he was taken off life support after five days.
The Stephans own Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., working from their home in Raymond. Health Canada tried to shut down their distribution of Empowerplus in 2004, which the couple claims can manage mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder.
Even the government issued warnings about the supplement – the same supplement Ezekiel was given.
David Stephan thinks they’re being prosecuted not because of neglect, but as a sly way for the courts to force parents to vaccinate children, rather than legislation.
If convicted, the couple faces a five-year prison term and the loss of their other children.