In November of last year, when 14-month-old John Clark of Calgary, Canada was finally taken to the hospital for a serious staph infection, it was too late for the usual treatment with antibiotics. The boy was weakened beyond hope by a severe nutritional deficit; he died despite the last-minute medical care.
Why was he critically malnourished? According to Calgary police officers, who charged the parents just the other day, it was because
“The family followed a strict dietary regimen based on their faith and nutritional beliefs,” said Sgt. Doug Andrus.
The parents, Jennifer and Jeromie Clark, were placed under arrest on Friday,
… charged with criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life.
The pair are thought to be radicalized Seventh-Day Adventists, who consider it part of their faith to eat either vegetarian or vegan meals (accounts vary), though that alone couldn’t have been the problem in this case since many families hold to meat-free diets without a problem. (***Update***: A commenter offers a more detailed explanation of the diet here.)
According to CTV News,
Pastor Randy Barber says the extended Clark family has worshipped at the Central Seventh Day Adventist Church in northwest Calgary for years, but Jeromie Clark and his wife stopped attending services without explanation. “He became very radical, very controlling with his wife,” recollects Pastor Barber. “They disappeared and we haven’t seen them for about eight years.”
Police say the 12-month investigation was “long and complicated.”
“We have no indication that he (the infant) had seen a doctor since his birth and the child was not born in hospital,” said Sgt. Andrus. “And the family took steps to conceal his condition from family members. And it was only after the realization by a family member that the infant was sick [that] they were advised to take him to hospital.”
The Clarks’ two older children have been removed from the parents’ control while the authorities seek further information.
(Image via Shutterstock)