19:08 / 02.10.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Parents of Pula teen who died of untreated medical condition to remain in custody

Parents taken into custody

Parents taken into custody

Foto: HTV / HRT

Three days after a 15-year-old boy died at the hospital in Pula due to what appears to be his parent's failure to seek medical care for a serious health condition, more details are coming out about the case. 

The teenager had had been ill for three months but the parents only called for emergency assistance last Wednesday, when it was already too late, according to investigators. Emergency medical workers tried to reanimate the boy in the ambulance but their efforts failed and he was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. The child, a first-year high school student, had started losing weight and appeared weak and gaunt. Istria County Police Spokesperson Suzana Sokač said police have completed their initial investigation.

"Police have conducted their criminal investigation and found enough evidence to suspect that a 45-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man committed the crime of violating the rights of a child. They are suspected of failing to seek medical help as far as three months back, when the boy showed signs that his health was deteriorating. They did not address his health issues and neglected him, which unfortunately resulted in his death,” Sokač said.

Under Croatian law the names of suspects are not made public by the police.

A judge remanded the mother and father to investigative custody on Saturday for a period of one month to prevent witness tampering. The lawyer representing the parents said they were likely to be released from detention once prosecutors complete interviewing witnesses.

The couple had another child who died by drowning at age 11 in Koprivnica-Križevci County. This was determined to have been an accident. The family’s three other children have now been removed from the home by social workers.

The family lives in the village of Šikići, near Pula, and belongs to the Hare Krishna community. Fellow members of the religious community said they did not know what was happening in the family or suspect the boy was ill. Vladimir Radeka, the head of the local chapter of the Vaishnava Organization, insist that the boy's parents were not aware their son was ill. Radeka claims the boy had always been very lean and that he did not notice any change in his appearance. He also said denied the community discouraged members from seeking medical care.

"We all have access to medical care and medical insurance. Whenever someone is ill, they go to see a doctor, without hesitation. No shaman was involved, there was no neglect. I do know that this child had always been very thin. He was very tall, an excellent student, and attended classes regularly. Things like this can happen, situations in which people only later realize that something was a serious illness and resulted in death. This was not a case neglect or refusal,” Radeka said.

Radeka added that had anyone in the community or school known something was wrong, they would have talked to the parents.

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