The friend of a Calgary woman charged in the death of her seven-year-old son said Wednesday Tamara Lovett was living in the “darkest realms of poverty.”
Lovett, 47, is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life and with criminal negligence causing her son’s death.
Ryan Alexander Lovett died in March 2013 after getting a strep infection that kept him bedridden for 10 days. Court heard he was treated with holistic remedies by his mother.
Barbara La Pointe met Ryan and his mother about a year-and-a-half before Ryan died. She described Lovett as being utterly and completely unsupported as a mother and human being, which extended to her son.
“They were living in an invisible way on the fringes of society,” La Pointe testified. “Essentially speaking, Ryan was completely isolated. He did not have many friends and certainly did not have a best friend.
“As things progressed, darkened, the idea came into Tamara’s head that she would home-school him.”
Watch below from Nov. 29: On Tuesday several medical experts testified in Tamara Lovett’s trial. Court heard that seven-year-old Ryan died of overwhelming sepsis and his initial infection could have been treated with antibiotics. Tracy Nagai reports.
La Pointe testified there was no routine in the home and Ryan had little access to food. She said they were “living in a different reality.”
La Pointe began caring for Ryan when Lovett was working and watched him for several days just weeks before he died. She said the last time she dropped him off at home he cried, saying he didn’t want to go home.
La Pointe broke down on the stand when she spoke of the days before the young boy died. She had asked Lovett if Ryan could come stay with her and Lovett said no, Ryan was sick.
She described checking in on Ryan the day before he died: Lovett had told her Ryan had a cold, but when La Pointe saw him she said she went into shock.
“I was utterly surprised at the gravity of Ryan’s illness,” she said. “Ryan was a shell of a shell of a shell of how I dropped him off. I could see his eyes were sunken in, his cheeks were hollow.
“He was in a state of supreme suffering.”
La Pointe said Ryan told her he had been in bed without food for a week.
When La Pointe asked Lovett what was going on, Lovett said she needed to flush Ryan’s system out and was giving him dandelion tea.
La Pointe testified she asked Lovett to bring him to the doctor, but Lovett was “over the top about the tea.”
She told court she promised Ryan she would be back the next morning. But she didn’t return and was told later the next day that he had died.
Lovett wept throughout La Pointe’s testimony.
Ryan was treated with the dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he went into convulsions and his mother called 911. He was pronounced dead in a Calgary hospital.
Alberta’s acting chief medical examiner testified Tuesday that her autopsy found the boy’s body full of group A streptococcus, which had caused most of his major organs to deteriorate.
Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim said Ryan appeared to be a reasonably healthy child otherwise, without any signs of abuse.
Watch below: Court hears Tamara Lovett’s frantic 911 call. WARNING – Some viewers may find this disturbing.
With files from Global’s Erika Tucker and The Canadian Press
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