Deceased boy's mother testifies about herbalist who told them to deny him insulin

ByLisa Bartley KABC logo
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Deceased boy's parents testify about herbalist's advice
Prosecutors say 84-year-old "master herbalist" Timothy Morrow is responsible for a death of a 13-year-old boy after advising his parents to stop giving him insulin.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Fireworks in the trial of Timothy Morrow, the 84-year-old so-called "master herbalist" who is accused of causing the death of 13-year old Edgar Lopez by convincing the boy's family to rely on his herbs instead of insulin -- and to not take Edgar to the hospital as he was dying.

"Did he (Morrow) put a gun to your head and tell you not to take Edgar to the hospital?" defense attorney Sanford Perliss asked Edgar's mother.

"His words were like a gun," Maria Madrigal replied.

Edgar died in late August of 2014. Morrow came to the family's Harbor Gateway home three times in the last three days of Edgar's life - each time allegedly telling Edgar's parents and brother that doctors were dangerous and the insulin they'd give him was poison.

Madrigal testified under cross-examination that she often referred to the herbalist as "Dr. Morrow" - and she believed he was an "herbalist doctor."

"Did he put a gun to your head and tell you not to give Edgar insulin?" asked defense attorney Perliss.

The defense also asked Madrigal if she was blaming Morrow for Edgar's death because she worried she might be held responsible.

"I was afraid, I didn't know the process - I didn't know what was going to happen," Madrigal testified through an interpreter.

"Were you afraid they were going to arrest you?" Perliss asked.

Prosecutor Heid Matz objected to that question and after jurors were excused for a break argued that "the jury has been poisoned."

"Suggesting that she is going to get arrested is so far-flung and outrageous," Matz told the judge. "So much dirt has been thrown on this mother."

Judge Victoria Wilson later instructed the jury that while more than one person could have played a part in Edgar's death, this trial is focused only on Morrow.

"The title of this case is People versus Timothy Morrow," Wilson told the jury.

"Whether there is or isn't a pending case of the parents is something you cannot consider."

The defense pointed out that Morrow's herbs came with a warning label that read, "this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

"He told me that everything I got from the doctors were things from the devil," Madrigal testified.

On re-direct, prosecutor Matz asked Madrigal if Morrow told her his herbs could be used instead of the insulin prescribed by Edgar's diabetes specialist.

"Yes, he did," she replied.

"Did the defendant tell you that this 'Pancreas Reg' was God's insulin?" asked Matz.

"Yes, and he also said that he had God's pharmacy," Madrigal testified.

Madrigal told jurors she reduced Edgar's insulin and later stopped it entirely because Edgar's diabetes specialist told her the boy was in a honeymoon period and would not need insulin for a period of time.

That honeymoon period ended in the summer of 2014. Edgar needed the insulin to survive. By that point, Madrigal testified, she'd been brainwashed by Morrow to believe that insulin was "poison" and even refused to give Edgar insulin at one point, even though he'd asked for it.

Edgar was wasting away in the three days before his death, but Madrigal testified that Morrow insisted the boy was on the verge of a rebound.

Defense attorney Perliss asked Madrigal if Edgar asked her to take him to the hospital.

"Yes, and I immediately called Tim and told him he wanted to go to the hospital," Madrigal testified. "He said don't take him."

Madrigal says the family called Morrow repeatedly on the day Edgar died - at one point Edgar's older brother asking the herbalist if they could call 911.

"On my last call, my son was telling him, may I call 911, may I call 911," Madrigal told the jury. "My son could not breathe anymore."

In another potential bombshell, the husband of another Morrow client has come forward, telling the lead detective he heard about Morrow's case through Eyewitness News.

Carol Ann Waisanen's widow told Detective David Cortez that his wife declined traditional medical treatment for her cancer at the urging of Morrow. Prosecutor Matz asked the court to allow Waisanen to testify, but Judge Wilson ruled it was likely too late to be included at this trial.

Testimony in the case is expected to end this week. The defense for Morrow is not sure if they will call any witnesses.

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