A mother who blogged about her 5-year-old son’s chronic illness is accused of murdering the child with a fatal dose of sodium, delivered while he was in the hospital.
Lacey Spears, 26, originally from Decatur, Ala., but currently living in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., was charged Tuesday with depraved murder and manslaughter. Police say her alleged poisoning of her son, Garnett-Paul Spears, was a ploy for attention.
She had been documenting his persistent health problems—including ear infections, unexplained fevers, seizures and digestive ailments—on social media, and brought him to a Rockland County hospital with seizures.
There, doctors noticed that sodium levels in the boy’s body were far higher than what he could produce on his own. Prosecutors said Tuesday that Spears injected high doses of sodium into Garnett’s stomach tube while hospital staff were out of the room.
A neighbor also told police that on the day of Garnett’s death from a sodium overdose, Lacey Spears asked her to help hide a fluid bag like the one attached to the child’s tube. Police recovered the bag, which contained high amounts of sodium.
Garnett’s health problems started when he was 5 days old. Notably, there was an incident at 10 weeks where he stopped breathing and his sodium levels shot up unexpectedly. Doctors couldn’t explain it at the time.
Spears concocted an elaborate framework of lies online, according to the Daily Mail. She wrote of Garnett’s hero father, a policeman named Blake who died in a car accident. But Garnett’s real father, Chris Hill, is still alive—he says she texted him, confessing to making up stories on her blog.
Spears’s former best friend also says that when she let Spears babysit her son, the mommyblogger started telling people online that the boy was Garnett’s brother.
Authorities believe Spears suffers from Münchausen syndrome by proxy, an illness characterized by injuring a child or making him sick to bring attention and sympathy to the parent.
Spears claims she only used salt as a seasoning for Garnett’s food, and that he sometimes played with his feeding syringe in the hospital, so he may have put something into the feeding bag himself.