Mom Blogger Pleads 'Not Guilty' to Medically Torturing Her Son to Death

Lacey SpearsMommy blogger Lacey Spears pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter, in the tragic death of her 5-year-old son Garnett Spears.

The little boy died in January of sodium poisoning, and the prosecution alleges that the 26-year-old mother systematically poisoned him with salt through the feeding tube in his stomach. Authorities believe that Spears may have suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the psychiatric illness that causes a parent to harm their own child for sympathy and attention, and may have been poisoning him for years for blog fodder.

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It's a case that could open up all sorts of questions about the disease in the Internet age -- it's easier than ever to get attention and sympathy for your sick child thanks to social media and blogging platforms. Heck, I've followed several sick kids' stories as their parents have given updates on their well being. It's sickening to think that a mother would do this intentionally to fuel her twisted "need" to be the parent of a sick child.

Spears is being charged with what's known as "depraved murder," which indicates that the death was a case of "extreme recklessness rather than intentional killing." The sentence is the same, however, 25 years to life if convicted.

Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd laid out the prosecution, claiming that Spears was "intentionally feeding her son salt in toxic levels."

On January 17, the little boy was admitted to Nyack Hospital in Rockland County, New York, with reports of having seizures. Two days later, doctors say his sodium levels inexplicably rose to dangerous levels, and he was transferred to Westchester Medical Center, where doctors suspected the mother's involvement and contacted New York state children's services. Garnett died on January 23.

After obtaining a search warrant for their home, police took food, her cellphone, and computer. They chased leads all over the country. The case is being handled in Westchester County because that's where the boy died, but they also lived in Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky. The reason for the feeding tube has not been released, but police did find that the boy had been hospitalized 23 times in his short life.

One neighbor who spoke to USA Today on the condition of anonymity claimed that Spears had asked her to dispose of the feeding bags at her home as her son lay on his deathbed. The neighbor admitted to removing the bag but turned it over to police when she heard about the investigation.

Spears' attorney David Sachs maintains his client's innocence, saying, "Lacey is completely devastated by the loss of her son and absolutely denies harming her son in any way."

It's such an unbelievable circumstance to contemplate. As parents we're supposed to protect our kids, not make them sick. And for what? Attention? Potentially for blog traffic? It's heartbreaking to think that there are parents out there medically abusing their own children -- even to the point of death.

Do you think the Internet could up the cases of Munchausen syndrome by proxy we'll be seeing in the future?

 

Image via Ricky_Flores/Twitter

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