A mother has been accused of trying to poison her 4-year-old daughter with extremely high levels of salt. Katie Alice Ripstra of Harris County, Texas was charged with injury to a child/serious bodily injury and aggravated assault after bringing her daughter to a hospital on several occasions to be treated for extremely high levels of sodium. On one occasion, the girl was reportedly released from the hospital only to return two days later with brain injuries and high sodium levels.
The little girl was finally taken from her mother's care and put in a foster home, where she immediately stopped having any issues with her sodium levels. High sodium levels can cause neurological problems and even death.
Police believe that Ripstra gave her daughter high levels of liquid salt through a feeding tube.
Although this seems like a most bizarre thing to do, Ripstra wouldn't be the first charged with this heinous crime. In 2010, a Tennessee woman, Amber Brewington, was sentenced after admitting to injecting salt water into her infant son's feeding tube.
Brewington originally said she was trying to spare her son from suffering but was then thought to have Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychiatric disorder in which caregivers cause or exaggerate illnesses in those under their care, usually for attention.
Currently, suspicion has fallen on Lacey Spears, a Chestnut Ridge, New York woman whose son, Garnett, had been in and out of hospitals most of his life with high sodium levels. He also had a feeding tube. He eventually died. Spears has not been charged with any crime and denies hurting her son.
Sodium levels can rise if a child has had vomiting, diarrhea, or becomes dehydrated. It's important that if a child has high sodium levels, foul play isn't assumed.
Ripstra is a pediatric nurse who worked at Texas Children's Hospital, from which she has been terminated. It was here that the woman took her daughter on four occasions to be treated.
Police say the motive, if there is one, is unclear.
The little girl has fully recovered from her brain injuries -- and that is the most important thing. Now it's up to a jury to decide if this woman has this most horrible disease, one that would cause her to repeatedly try to injure her own daughter for attention. If so, it's just unimaginable.
Thank goodness this girl is in safe hands now.
What do you think happened here?
Image via Harris County Sheriff's Office