Lacey Spears has been convicted of slowly poisoning her 5-year-old son, Garnett, to death by forcing salt into his feeding tube so she could chronicle the kid’s sickness on her mommy blog.
The 27-year-old woman faces a life sentence for murdering her son.
During his short life, Garnett endured unbelievable pain, including many hospitalizations, unnecessary surgeries and ultimately what the Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore called a “tortured death.”
Prosecutors say Spears slowly poisoned her son by adding salt to his feeding tube, which caused his brain to swell and kill him.
If Spears is looking around for sympathy, there’s not a lot left for her.
“She’s sick and needs to stay locked up for the rest of her short life,” the boy’s father, Chris Hill, told the New York Post. “I hope they don’t give her special treatment and don’t put her in solitary. She needs to be put in the general population so she has to fear for her miserable life every day.”
Reports say Spears sat “emotionless” while the verdict was read. Her father and sister held each other and did not comment.
Image: CBS New York via YouTube
Although it was not used as part of her defense, there’s plenty of speculation that Spears suffers from a rare psychological disorder called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which causes caregivers — most often young mothers — to inflict intentional harm on their children as a way to bring attention to themselves. And while there’s nothing left to be done for little Garnett, here are a few of the warning signs that a chronically sick child could possibly be a victim of child abuse fueled by Munchausen. According to experts, about 1,000 cases of child abuse as a result of Munchausen syndrome by proxy are reported each year.
- Munchausen-afflicted caregivers will appear very attentive to the child, perhaps to the point of being overly concerned.
- Most victims of Munchausen syndrome by proxy are preschoolers.
- People with Munchausen usually know a lot about medicine and medical terminology, and may even work in the health care field.
- They are abnormally comfortable — happy, even — in hospitals.
- Caregivers with Munchausen are often very friendly with health care workers.
- The child’s symptoms (seizures, fainting) are observed only by the caregiver rather than hospital staff.
- Symptoms the caregiver reports the child has don’t match test results administered by health care staff.
- The child gets better in the hospital, then relapses once they return home.
- Lab samples, such as blood and urine, may not match the child or contain poison or chemicals.