The Death of a Toddler and Psychopathic Behavior

What does the murderous father, David Stephan, Donald Trump, and Gov. Bob McDonnell have in common? They are all psychopaths! Yeah! Psychopathy is a very popular topic right now, and there are literally thousands of articles and books out there warning you about staying away from them and how to spot them and all kinds of things. So, what I thought I’d do here is examine David Stephan for signs of psychopathy.Knowing the symptoms and signs of psychopathy is all well and good, but without practical application and real world interpretation, it can go badly wrong.

You should be aware that I cannot make a definitive diagnosis for three reasons:

  1. A diagnosis of psychopathy does not officially exist.
  2. I do not have direct contact with David Stephan and have not met him. I only have news reports to collect information from.
  3. I do not hold a license that will allow for a diagnosis to be made.

The Ezekiel Stephan Neglect Case

Ezekiel Stephan

David and Collet Stephan of Calgary, Alberta, Canada denied the necessaries of life to their 19 month-old son right up until he died in March 2012. It took two and one-half weeks for the little fella to die an agonizing painful death because he died of MENINGITIS!

Do you know what meningitis is? Do you know the symptoms? Could you diagnose your child if she had meningitis? I’m guessing not. But here are the symptoms according to WebMD:

The most common symptoms among teens and young adults are:

  • A stiff and painful neck, especially when you try to touch your chin to your chest.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble staying awake.
  • Seizures.

Children, older adults, and people with other medical problems may have different symptoms:

  • Babies may be cranky and refuse to eat. They may have a rash. They may cry when held.

  • Young children may act like they have the flu. They may cough or have trouble breathing.

  • Older adults and people with other medical problems may have only a slight headache and fever.

More meningitis fun facts to fill you with hope for humanity, also from WebMD:

There are two main kinds of meningitis:

  • Viral meningitis is fairly common. It usually doesn’t cause serious illness. In severe cases, it can cause prolonged fever and seizures.

  • Bacterial meningitis isn’t as common, but it’s very serious. It needs to be treated right away to prevent brain damage and death (Emphasis added).

So, one way they let their child die of meningitis is that they didn’t think he had meningitis, but rather the flu. Okay. Okay. That makes sense since meningitis has flu-like symptoms of coughing and fever.

What’s a parent to do? Well, we treat symptoms: reduce fever, give fluids, allow for lots of rest. And, that’s what David and Collet did. But, they are holistic medicine types. They don’t trust Western medicine so they didn’t go out and get the junior cold and flu medicine stuff down at the local grocery or pharmacy. Okay, fine. The flu is usually reasonably harmless, but it has killed lots of people in the history of human kind and small children can be especially susceptible.

David and Collet are more than your average hippy-dippy let’s all clear our chakras and use crystals to heal our energies types. David’s father started a company called Truehope Nutritional Support, and David is a vice president. So, David and Collet not only use this horseshyte, they actually believed all of the horseshyte floating to the top of the Inter Webs about how holistic medicine is better than traditional medicine as administered by MD’s because they are corrupt and everything. And, through their company, they shat a large share of the horseshyte into the webs for other people to murder their babies with. They claim their products will treat bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and autism. You know, because these are such easy disorders to treat if the corrupt medical establishment would get out of the way and allow the body to heal itself the way that nature intended.

Honestly, it is all well and good to run around treating your cold with echinacea and Vitamin C and shit since there ain’t nothing that will help unless you want to just treat the symptoms with effective medicines. Cleansing and healing visualizations are terrifically entertaining, too. And, it is fun getting together with your friends and slamming the system with cynicism, sarcasm, and snark. But, don’t make that your reality. It is all just make believe. This shyte don’t work.

This shysterism snake oil isn’t sufficient to murder your baby, though.

The Edward Goreyian Tale

From the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

So, way way back in February or March 2012, poor little Ezekiel gets sick and his parents assume it is the flu and treat him with a concoction of “natural remedies” that included peppers, onions, and echinacea. And probably they used prayers and meditation and crystals and good vibrations and healing energies and all kinds of other ineffective make believe shyte on this poor little toddler.

But, for two and half weeks and against the advice of a nurse friend, their holistic medicine shaman, and holistic apothecary, who all advised them to take the child to a real medical doctor who dispenses real science-based medicine based on real science-based research as opposed to all those folks who want to believe that good thoughts and words and crystals and berries will do the job, they continued to treat poor little Ezekiel with the concoction that would boost his immune system.

After treating their beloved child because they would never EVER do anything to HARM him, unless by harm, you mean murder him by denying him the necessaries of life, they thought he was getting better. Never mind that bacterial meningitis needs to be treated within three days of the onset of symptoms or risk brain damage and death!

A small error in judgment when dealing with bacterial meningitis is something that can happen to anyone regardless of their belief in magic, god, crystals, or spirits, or any of the other fun times crap that is out there in the world. It is one thing to grift your way to fame and fortune selling this one weird trick to cure your child’s autism and another to actually believe that this witch’s brew helps and give it to your child when what they really need is for mom and dad to deal with reality and go see a fucking medical doctor!

Seriously, who asks their nurse friend about their baby’s cough and symptoms that haven’t abated after ten days or so and hears her respond with, “it may be meningitis, you should take him to a real medical doctor” (made up quote). And, then looks up meningitis on WebMD and sees this warning (emphasis added):

It is very important to see a doctor right away if you or your child has these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell whether they are caused by viral or bacterial meningitis. And bacterial meningitis can be deadly if not treated right away.

WebMD: Meningitis – Topic Overview

Of course the typical reaction would be to load the child into the vehicle and discover that he is so swollen that he can’t bend at the waist!!!1! and lay him flat on the seat, and… go to your lawyers, for fuck’s sake, to sign papers on your way to your holistic shaman’s office to get an immune system booster!!1! Then take this suffering child home and feed him this witch’s brew with an eye dropper because he is refusing all food and drink!!1! And claim that you could keep him hydrated using a fucking eye dropper!!1! Of course that is what you do. Of course that is what any rational sane loving caring parent would do, right?

Can you guess what the tincture, flower essences, herbal supplements, and healing oils grifter said to them? I think you can, “You think your kid has meningitis? Take that fucking kid to a real doctor are you fucking kidding me? Because, I’m not fucking kidding you! Take your goddamn kid to a goddamn real doctor who knows what the fuck she is doing!” Not a real quote, but the way.

So, of course, when he stopped breathing, they decided that real medicine might help.

Psychopathy the Right Way

PsychoTestWhat are the basic features of a psychopath? Well, this gets a little tricky and confusing. It would be so much easier if the good folks over at the DSM would just use the term psychopath! But, no they won’t not even use it in their new fancy-shamncy DSM-5 what doesn’t even continue using Roman numerals! For those of you who don’t know, the DSM-5 is the latest edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel used by the psychiatric and mental health community of North America and much of the world to diagnose mental health disorders. It lists symptoms for each of the diagnoses that it recognizes.

Just because the DSM doesn’t list psychopathy as a diagnosis, doesn’t mean the mental health community doesn’t recognize it. The DSM-5 just refers to it as antisocial personality disorder. This is all made even more confusing by things like the Psychopath Test and the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure which use the term psychopath in attempts to diagnose antisocial personality disorder since that’s the only thing hospitals and other mental health professionals can be reimbursed for treating by insurance and government healthcare.

Psychopathy is generally conceptualized as entailing persistent behavioral deviance in conjunction with deficient affect and impaired social relatedness. However, the precise definition and boundaries of the disorder, and the most appropriate methods for assessing it, remain topics of ongoing debate.
Drislane, Patrick, and Arsal

This confusion is due in part to the history of the disorder. Once identified by Philipe Pinel, the famous 19th century French physician, people just sorta went crazy with it and expanded it to include all kinds of crazy stuff and accused everyone and their uncle of being all manie sans delire or, for you non-French speaking types (ha ha!), insanity without delirium. After the advent of modern psychology, though, Hervey Cleckley tried to reign it in a bit by publishing The Mask of Sanity (1941).

So what are the generally agreed upon signs and symptoms of psychopath?

  • lack of or minimal empathy
  • callousness
  • manipulation
  • pathological lying
  • charm
  • a tendency toward boredom
  • arrogance
  • blame shifting
  • dominance
  • aggression
  • impulsivity

The DSM-5 lists the categories of symptoms of antisocial personality disorder as

  • Ego-centrism
  • Absence of pro-social internal standards leading to failure to follow laws or normative behavior
  • a lack of empathy for others or remorse for causing harm — directly or indirectly — to others
  • Absence of intimacy: relationships are characterized by exploitation
  • Manipulativeness
  • Deceitfulness
  • Callousness
  • Hostility
  • Irresponsibility
  • Impulsiveness
  • Risk-taking

Rather than wading through an explanation of all of these symptoms, let’s take a non-professional speculative wander through the newspaper clippings concerning David Stephan’s explanation of how his 19-month old son had come to die of bacterial meningitis!

David Stephan, murderous psychopath extraordinaire, probably but not definitively…

You’re probably wondering why I am not accusing Collet Stephan of being a psychopath. Is it because I’m some kind of misogynistic sexist pig-type who thinks that women aren’t capable of being psychopaths because of their feminine soft and gooey side? Well, it ain’t. Honestly, she might be a psychopath, but it is more likely that she is stuck in a traumatic sick co-dependent relationship with David. Piece of convincing evidence number one: she wept after being convicted of murdering her son by denying him he necessaries to sustain his life. David took the FaceBooks to denounce the jury and the system and to declare that all parenting will now be subject to the approval of the state regardless of whether it results in the death of your child because he is a martyr! So, there’s that. Do I detect a hint of ego-centrism and callousness? Yes, yes I do.

Let’s see what else the reporting on this case revealed about him.

He claimed to be educated about medicine because he reads blogs and WebMD, so he could provide proper medical care for his son until he stopped breathing. According to reporting by the CBCNews: Calgary who obtained the audiotapes of the police interviews with the couple:

“Do we have a formal [medical] education? No. Are we educated in it? Absolutely,” he said. “Has it worked for us in every single scenario in the past before this? Yes.”

Have you ever encountered something as serious as bacterial meningitis before? No — not that that is on the tape, but PROBABLY. Dipshit.

“And then when he was sick there, we were giving him, above and beyond that [vitamins and other supplements], the olive root extract, which is an antifungal, antiviral, it’s a very powerful one,” he told Bulford [the interviewer].

I guess just not powerful enough, dipshit.

“With how severe his symptoms were, which they were not severe, we would have never guessed…”

The child was so stiff, he couldn’t sit in his car seat and had to lie down! No, that could in no way be construed as so severe as to need something beyond immune system boosters and natural antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, even very powerful ones. Of course, not. If they had been severe, they would have been aware because they would NEVER do anything to HARM their child. Dip Fucking Shit.

Let’s chalk this fine display of judgment and reasoning to ego-centrism, a lack of pro-social internal standards, irresponsibility, and risk-taking (with someone else’s life).

How about a lack of empathy? If they thought he had the flu, could that really be construed as a lack of empathy? The doctor’s report describes a two-week period of illness in which the child refused fluids and food, and moaned instead of using his words. The physician notes that the child would groan unhappily when the mother left his room. While there was no fever, he was lethargic. So, David was empathetic because he gave the child his company’s immune boosting crap with an eye dropper. He knew the kid was sick. He was empathizing, right? Fuck no.

How could you not look at that child and think to yourself, holy crap, he’s really sick, and take him to a doctor? Oh, if you view the medical establishment as being so corrupt that you cannot trust it with your child’s life, that’s how. If you have to spin yourself stories about how you know better than a person who has had four years of medical school, a pediatric internship, and seen thousands of sick children because you grew up selling witch’s brews to cure autism and are now the vice president of the company so that you don’t allow your worry and concern for the health and well-being of your son drive you to throw over your cherished beliefs, you might not have even an ounce of fucking empathy!

This kid is obviously sick and in pain, and their response is give him more of the stuff that doctors don’t want you to know about that is advertised in the automatic ads that now appear around our favorite free websites along with the one weird trick to lose belly fat and the photographer who saw too much. Yeah, that’s empathy? No, it’s also risk-taking, and irresponsibility. It’s being too ego-centric to admit that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing and talking about! It’s being an arrogant, irresponsible, hostile asshole!

More evidence of take your pick of symptoms or signs of psychopathy. Stephan David reads the following on WebMD about meningitis (emphasis added):

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment.

Watchful waiting isn’t appropriate if you think that you or your child has meningitis, because you can’t tell what type of meningitis it may be. Call your doctor as soon as symptoms appear.

WebMd: When to Call a Doctor

And, his response was:

“Bacterial, you have a very short window to work with. And so she ruled that out.”

The father told Bulford he believed taking Ezekiel to a physician sooner would not have helped.

“She found out Monday afternoon that it was meningitis, not a whole lot they can do for that until they can discover what [type] it is, and to discover what it is, they have to do a spinal tap,” he said [apropos of fuck all nothing].

“I don’t think anyone would have caught that unless he was under 24-hour supervision of a doctor.”

CBCNews: Calgary

Again, ego-centrism, absence of pro-social behavior, absence of empathy, risk-taking, hostility, callousness, arrogance, and irresponsibility.

While his post-death reactions can be seen as a form of denial and cognitive dissonance to protect himself from the overwhelming anguish of the thought that he murdered his son, his behavior before that point can only be construed as those of a psychopath, especially considering the events of the night Ezekiel stopped breathing and they “rushed” him to a hospital. David convinced Collet to go to some church event. While she was out, the child’s conditioned worsened and after she returned, he stopped breathing. Given that he had been so swollen that he couldn’t bend at the waist that very day, this suggests that David Stephan can be very manipulative.

And consider this one last piece of evidence of David’s psychopathic tendencies: In a blog  on Huffington Post by lawyer and commentator, Karen Sellick, the reason up to six jurors are said to have cried after reading the verdict and the foreman of the jury read it in a choked voice wiping away tears and refused to order the Stephans to surrender their passports is because they got to know the Stephans as caring loving parents who did not deserve prison sentences for murdering their child by withholding effective medical treatment in lieu of a wing and a prayer and a cauldron of crap that the grandfather had dreamed up a generation ago to peddle to the public!

How could a judge and jury feel this way about these people? First, we don’t know that they felt this way for sure since Canadian law prohibits jurors from discussing what happened in their deliberations. It’s just Sellick’s speculation. And second, maybe it is because David Stephan is a charming, manipulative, deceitful psychopath!

I rest my fucking case.



  1. Thanks for writing this. I can’t say I “enjoyed” it due to the horribleness of the events but you’ve done a great job of outlining the reasons this piece of shit is probably a psychopath. The only statement I take issue with is your speculation that Collet Stephan is probably not a psychopath because she cried in court when the verdict was read. It’s possible that she felt/feels remorse but it’s also possible she cried because she knew she was going to be punished for her willful neglect. In the words of Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, “You’re not really sorry, you’re sorry you got caught.” She was clearly in a co-dependent relationship, but that doesn’t negate the probability that she was a willing participant in what happened to her son. Again, thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lazarus. I appreciate the comment. I agree, there is little evidence one way or the other for Collet Stephan being a psychopath. And, she definitely is guilty of murdering her son and responsible for his death. I could’ve also added that as far as I know it some what rare for psychopaths to be involved with one another other than using them for their own needs. It is hard to tell given what we know. Him. I’m fairly confident about.

      The sickness of the relationship is betrayed by its continuance. Many or most marriages dissolve when a child dies. This one has continued for four years and they’ve reproduced again!


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