Trial begins for anti-vaxxer parents who treated dead son’s meningitis with maple syrup and olive leaf extract

Two naturopathic parents are accused of allowing their son to die from a meningitis infection because they tried to treat him with home remedies instead of consulting a doctor.

The CBC reports that the parents, David Stephan and his wife Collet Stephan of Southern Alberta, Canada, have pleaded not guilty this Monday for failing to provide the necessities of life to their 19-month-old son, Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.

Canadian prosecutors say the couple fed the child supplements with an eye dropper, lay down with him and refused to call for an ambulance until the boy stopped breathing. Authorities also stated that Ezekiel was sick for weeks and his parents would not seek medical care.

The boy was airlifted to a Calgary hospital and put on life support for five days. Doctors told the parents that their son died of meningitis.


Crown officials said that a family friend, who is a nurse, told the parents that her son might have the disease. The Stephans fed their son home remedies such as, but not limited to, maple syrup, frozen berries, hot peppers, mashed onions, and ginger root instead of taking the boy to the hospital.

The court played a recording during the parent’s trial where Collet, who owns Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., told police of their attempts to cure Ezekiel with their set of naturopathic supplements because of the family’s “negative experiences” with the Canadian medical system.

The family has posted on social media that they feel they are being unfairly persecuted and that their approach to health should be respected.

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