Münchausen mom Lacey Spears charged with murder of 5-year-old son

Lacey Spears - Münchausen Mom

New York prosecutors say 26-year-old Lacey Spears slowly poisoned her son to death because she enjoyed the attention she was getting from caring for a sick child. The case is being called a textbook example of Münchausen by proxy, a psychiatric disorder in which a parent causes or fabricates a child’s ailment.

Speaking to the media after Lacey was arrested for 5-year-old Garnett’s death, Capt. Christopher Calabrese, commander of the Westchester County Police Detective Division, said, “This is a very sad day for everyone, but it is a day for justice: Justice for the betrayal of the intimate trust between a mother and child. Justice for a mother’s continual abuse and death of her innocent child for her own selfish psychological needs and financial gain. Justice for Garnett.”

She has been charged with one count of “depraved murder” and one count of first-degree manslaughter for allegedly poisoning Garnett with sodium, which led to fatal seizures.

Lacey Spears - Mug Shot

In Garnett’s final moments last January, Lacey called a family friend and made the strange request for her to dispose of the bag she used for his feeding tube. Police later seized the bag and discovered its high sodium content.

Lacey and Garnett Spears
Lacey and Garnett in the hospital days before his death on Jan. 23, 2014.

Lacey and Garnett’s story is actually an extremely long and complicated one, stretching back to when she first reported an illness with him when he was just five days old. (For a very well-written, thorough history, check out The Journal News‘ six-part series.) She is also accused of faking Garnett’s father’s death and claiming another child as her own.

Despite the stories that are so bizarre in retrospect, Lacey gathered a large following online, where she blogged about Garnett’s medical struggles. She was also active on Facebook and Myspace, where many voiced their concerns for Garnett and praise for Lacey.

Appearing in court this week, Lacey pled not guilty to the charges. If ultimately convicted, she faces up to 25 years in prison.

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