Mother who repeatedly gave emaciated 9-month-old laxatives searched online for 'ways to make a baby really sick'
25-year-old Megan Lee Kafer has been charged with one count of felony-level child endangerment for repeatedly feeding her son MiraLax, an over-the-counter laxative
A Minnesota mom has been accused of intentionally feeding her nine-month-old son laxatives to inflict starvation. 25-year-old Megan Lee Kafer of Lewiston has been charged with one count of felony-level child endangerment that could result in substantial harm or death in connection to the incident.
According to Fox News, Kafer had used her phone to search the web for numerous ways to poison her son. These included terms such as "MiraLax overdose," "Can a doctor tell if you overdose on MiraLax," "How to make a baby really sick," "Mom gets 20 years to life for poisoning son with salt," "Salt child death," and "How to make a baby vomit".
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that suspicions around Kafer grew after her son was admitted to the Children's Hospital in St. Paul this past July for "failure to thrive." The medical staff were concerned the 25-year-old was harming her son because the infant was "emaciated" despite doctors' "inexplicably ineffective" efforts to help him gain weight, and informed the police.
A criminal complaint against Kafer states she was was subsequently set up in a hospital room with a surveillance camera so the staff could monitor her interactions with her son. Soon enough, they caught her injecting something into the boy's feeding tube with a syringe.
The authorities who had been working in tandem with the medical professionals intervened and told the mother they needed to talk to her.
The complaint says she started "shaking uncontrollably" as she was taken into custody, with officers uncovering a syringe, as well as two packs of MiraLax — an over-the-counter laxative — in her purse.
The 25-year-old reportedly claimed to investigators the MiraLax was for herself and she had only injected water into the tube in order to help her son gain weight. But tests conducted on the syringe at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined the claim was a lie and that the liquid inside was, in fact, MiraLax. A search on her phone would then reveal the searches she made looking for methods to harm the infant.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press wrote that Kafer had previously struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after suffering a serious car accident a few years prior and had turned to self-harming behaviors since. She was also on medication.
Her husband, Jacob, acknowledged that Kafer possibly suffers from mental health problems but that it wasn't Munchhausen-by-proxy syndrome, a condition where a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care to gain sympathy for themselves.
"I am not saying there wasn’t an issue, there definitely was… I just don’t think it’s (Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome)," he said. "My wife was definitely not in a proper mental state, but to the extreme that they make it out to be and have laid out in the complaint, it's not quite like that."
Jacob also said that since the incident at the hospital, his wife has been working with a counselor and is taking medication and that he's "trying to get the family back together in a way that is safe and healthy for everyone."
Kafer is scheduled to appear in court on her charges in mid-December. Officials say her parental rights have been terminated.