In Canada, the parents of a dead toddler face charges after investigators determined a strict religious diet caused the death of their 14-month-old son.
Jennifer Clark, 38, and Jeromie Clark, 34, of Calgary, were charged late last week with criminal negligence for failing to provide necessities of life for their son, who died last year.
Today, Tuesday, the Clark’s were released on bail. According to the release conditions, neither can have unsupervised access to children under the age of 14, including their own two surviving children.
Reports indicate the parents are “radicalized” members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
John Clark was just 14 months old when he died of complications from malnutrition. The boy was brought to a local hospital by his parents on Nov. 28, 2013. He died the following day.
An autopsy found the child was suffering from a staph infection complicated by malnutrition making it untreatable. The majority of staph infections are treatable by antibiotics, if caught early.
Calgary police Staff Sgt. Doug Andrus said:
The child was suffering from a staph infection that was complicated by malnutrition and, as a result, that infection was untreatable.
In the majority of cases, this infection is treatable by antibiotics if treated earlier.
(We believe) that the family took steps to conceal his condition from family members and it was only after a realization by a family member that the infant was sick that they were advised to take him to the hospital.
Andrus said it’s believed the child had not seen a doctor since his birth, adding the boy was not born in a hospital.
In a statement, the Calgary Central Adventist Church said it was saddened to learn of the tragic death of the toddler and confirmed that the Clarks are members of the denomination.
Most Seventh-day Adventists eat a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, one that allows milk and eggs, but not animal flesh. This is because they believe that whatever they eat and drink should “honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind, and spirit.”