Mommy Blogger Charged With Fatally Poisoning Son

By Shawn Dwyer 06/19/14

Lacey Spears is accused of slowly killing her five-year-old son in a tragic case of Münchausen syndrome by proxy.

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A New York mother pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of murder and manslaughter for the poisoning death of her five-year-old son, Garnett, who died on January 23 due to complications from suspiciously high levels of sodium in his bloodstream.

Lacey Spears, 26, from upstate New York spent years blogging about her son’s lifetime of illness, documenting his declining health in what has been considered a case of Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness where a parent purposely sickens their child to garner sympathy.

"This mother was intentionally feeding her son salt in toxic levels," said Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd, who presented the state’s case to Justice Barry Warhit.

When he was only five days old, Garnett was rushed to the hospital with an ear infection, as blood was pouring from his nose. He went on to suffer fevers and other infections, never really thriving and needing a feeding tube by the time he was nine months old. Garnett spent the rest of his short life going in and out of hospitals, while Spears presented herself as an endlessly hopeful mother showcasing her son’s never-ending battle with various illnesses.

Spears took Garnett’s battle to the internet, where she gained a large supportive following with her blog, Garnett’s Journey, and later on Twitter and Facebook. She managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes despite existing warning signs.

"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,” said former nurse Ginger Dabbs-Anderson, who first met Spears and Garnett when the boy was just six months old. "Maybe the hospitals should have caught it, maybe her parents should have caught it, maybe those people closest to her should have caught it.”

The charges against Spears don’t directly accuse her of intentionally killing her son, but instead claim she acted out of indifference toward his life. She faces 25 years to life in prison for the murder charge and up to 25 years for the manslaughter charge. Spears is due back in court on July 2.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.