A woman who documented her son's chronic medical problems on her personal blog was arrested and charged with using salt to murder the boy.
Lacey Spears of Scottsville, Ky., was arrested on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, The Journal News reports (via The NY Post).
5-year-old Garnett died of acute sodium poisoning in a Westchester County children’s hospital on Jan. 23, the Journal News reports.
Spears is charged with pouring sodium (salt) into Garnett's stomach through a feeding tube in a hospital bathroom. She is suspected of poisoning her son with salt on at least 2 occasions.
Police believe the 26-year-old mother suffered from a mental condition known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder that causes parents (mostly moms) to sicken their own children in order to gain sympathy from nurses and doctors.
Computer records show Spears searched online for information about salt poisoning, Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd said in court on Tuesday.
Nurses who spend the most time with patients and families are usually the first to identify a parent with Munchausen syndrome. Once that parent is identified, a note is attached to the patient's chart alerting other health care personnel to monitor the parent's interactions with the child.
If the parent is caught in the act of poisoning a child (in extreme cases) a court order may be obtained by the hospital to prevent the parent's access to the child.
“I’m happy they got her and I do believe that she’s had this problem for years and that he’s been suffering at her hands. I really wish we could have prevented this because there were signs,” former nurse Ginger Dabbs-Anderson told The Journal News.
“Maybe the hospitals should have caught it, maybe her parents should have caught it, maybe those people closest to her should have caught it. She put all over Facebook how wonderful she was. She had us all snowed, she had us all believing she was wonderful. But obviously not," said Dabbs-Anderson.
Spears documented her son's life on her personal blog. The then 3-year-old Garnett is seen sucking on a pacifier and wearing pull ups in numerous photos posted on her blog.