Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mommy Blogger Lacey Spears Arrested For Poisoning Son To Death For Online Attention

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Lacey Spears told her wide online followers that from the moment her son Garnett was born, he was afflicted with never-ending illnesses. When he was only 5 days old, she rushed him to the hospital for an ear infection, with blood pouring from his nose. He had fevers, infections and, failed to add weight, she said. By ninth months, she said, he was using a feeding tube.

Now the boy is dead before his fifth birthday, and according to the authorities, Ms. Spears was the real cause of her son’s illnesses. Ms. Spears has been arrested and charged with the murder of her 5-year-old son on Tuesday, accused by the authorities of fatally poisoning him in January with an overdose of sodium.

Investigators believe Ms. Spears has a rare mental illness called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, that often involves a mother’s causing or inventing health symptoms so that her child gets medical care.

She is charged with murder in the second degree for acting with a depraved indifference that led to her son’s death, but not of intentionally killing him.

Ms. Spears pleaded not guilty. Her lawyer did not respond to calls on Wednesday seeking comment.

The indictment does not mention the Munchausen syndrome, but details a pattern of behavior by Ms. Spears over Garnett’s life that is consistent with the illness.

A Westchester County assistant district attorney, Doreen Lloyd, said investigators found evidence on Ms. Spears’s computer indicating she had researched the effects that a high level of salt could have on a child.

“This mother was intentionally feeding her son salt in toxic levels,” Ms. Lloyd said in court on Tuesday.

The charges, brought by Westchester prosecutors because the boy died in the county, relate only to the events at two hospitals that led to his death.

On Jan. 17, Ms. Spears, then living in the Rockland County village of Chestnut Ridge, rushed Garnett to the nearby Nyack Hospital, reporting that he had been experiencing seizures, according to court records. His mother spent the entire time by his side.

On Jan. 19, Garnett’s sodium levels spiked and he was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center, according to court documents. Two days later, he was barely breathing, his pupils were blown and his skin was a pale gray color. He died there on Jan. 23.

Throughout the ordeal, as she had for years, Ms. Spears provided Internet updates to the world. And when the medical examiner declared Garnett’s death a homicide in April, there was an immediate reaction online. Her followers felt betrayed.

Read More - NY Times, Journal News

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