David and Collet Stephan, a Canadian couple whose family runs controversial nutritional supplements company Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., have pleaded not guilty to charges they “failed to provide the necessities for life” to their 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died of untreated meningitis four years ago. According to the CBC, prosecutors claim the couple attempted to treat baby Ezekiel with home remedies such as maple syrup and juice with frozen berries rather than take him to a doctor, and only called for an ambulance once the infant stopped breathing.
The Stephans have created a Facebook group, titled Prayers for Ezekiel, which is described as “a page for positive thoughts/prayers for David, Collet and Ezra Stephan” but appears mostly to function as a means of soliciting donations to cover the family’s court costs. The couple issued a statement to the group on Sunday, saying that people “attacking our family” had caused their GoFundMe and YouCaring sites to go down, and accusing the government of causing “numerous suicides” when they seized supplements made by Truehope in 2003.
In 2004, according to the CBC, Health Canada unsuccessfully tried to block distribution of one of Truehope’s supplements, called EmpowerPlus, which prosecutors say was also given to Ezekiel. Truehope claims EmpowerPlus, which consists of a variety of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, is an effective treatment for ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, autism, and myriad other disorders.
Read the full story at Jezebel.