Lacey Spears, the Rockland county woman accused of poisoning her 5-year-old son Garnett, was charged with second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter on Tuesday.
Lacey Spears has been charged with the murder of her 5-year-old son
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Authorities believe Spears could have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychiatric disorder that occurs when parents fabricate or cause symptoms of illness in their child to get sympathy or attention. Investigators suspect that Spears fed potentially life-threatening amounts of salt to her son before he died on January 23 at Westchester Medical Center.
Despite the doctor’s concerns after Spears and her son arrived at Maria Fareri via emergency helicopter, Spears was permitted to sleep in Garnett’s hospital room.
Witnesses told the Journal News that a doctor confronted Spears, saying it was “metabolically impossible” for her son’s body to produce that much sodium and that “something isn’t right.”
Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd said Spears took her son into the hospital room’s private bathroom and injected the sodium into the feeding tube in his stomach, according to the Washington Post.
A neighbor claims Spears called her from the hospital and asked her to get rid of the bag she used to feed him through his tube at home. When authorities later recovered the bag, they found extremely high levels of sodium.
Before the death of her son, Spears had chronicled his illness on social media, gaining a broad audience on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. On her blog Garnett’s Journey, Spears posted pictures of her and her son with captions describing how they were coping with the death of Garnett’s father. She claimed his father was a police officer named Blake who died in a car accident. However, the child’s real father, Chris Hill, is a garage-door installer living in Alabama.
Spears continued to post on Facebook while her son lay dying in the hospital, asking for prayers and even posting pictures of Garnett on life support. She posted a final declaration on January 23, “Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 am.”
Authorities are looking into medical records and video surveillance from Nyack and Maria Fareri hospitals, as well as statements from medical staff and friends who accompanied Spears at both hospitals.
Spears surrendered to authorities yesterday after law enforcement obtained a warrant to arrest. According to Westchester police Capt. Christopher Calabrese, “She really didn’t show any emotion. She was kind of stoic when she came here. I think that she knew the grand jury was going on. She anticipated this happening, and she turned herself in with her attorney.”
If convicted, Spears faces a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
Update: The conference date has been changed from 7/2/14 to 7/16/14, on consent of the Court, Acting Supreme Court Judge Robert Neary, and both the prosecution and defense.