Herbal specialist 'like a god' to bereaved mother until her son died

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A mother testified that she once regarded a Torrance herbal specialist "like a god," trusting in his treatments for her son Edgar, even as the 13-year-old was dying.

The defendant, Timothy Morrow, is accused of misdemeanor child abuse causing the child's death and practicing medicine without a license.

The mother, Maria Madrigal, faces no charges though Morrow's defense seeks to blame her relying on Morrow's treatments over the advice of Edgar's medical doctors.

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"I had doubts at the beginning, but then I kept going to the classes. He has something that convinces you," Madrigal said.

Madrigal's decisions about her son's care shows conflicts.

Medical records indicate she was conscientious about taking him to regular doctors for annual exams as well childhood illnesses. She helped with insulin injections after the seventh grader from the Harbor-Gateway area was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

In the same time period, she took Edgar to Morrow's seminars on herbal treatments, had Morrow examine Edgar and became an active promoter of Morrow's herbal products.

MORE: 'Master herbalist' on trial in diabetic LA boy's death for convincing family to not use insulin

Madrigal referred new customers to Morrow and earned commissions. Three checks signed by Morrow totaling $753 were shown to the jury.
Madrigal said that Edgar's doctors had warned her that the diabetes symptoms could temporarily recede for a "honeymoon" period but would return.

Two months before Edgar's death, the symptoms were back. But instead of resuming the insulin injections, Madrigal consulted with Morrow about what the medical doctors were telling her.

"He told me no, no, not to listen to them, that everything was fine," Madrigal said.

She explained Morrow's core belief about what he called a "healing crisis," that Edgar's pain and weight loss were not symptoms of a decline but that the child was on the verge of a rebound that mainstream medicine could not deliver. Morrow's promise to Madrigal was that Edgar's diabetes would be cured forever.

"He assured me that his life was not at risk," Madrigal said.

The bereaved mother will undergo cross examination by Morrow's defense when the hearing resumes on Wednesday.
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