Garnett Spears died at the young age of five years old in January, six days after he had been rushed to the hospital. His sodium levels had risen, though there was no medical explanation.
But this last hospital stay was hardly Garnett’s only one. From when he was first born, he was in and out of the hospital, his first visit when he was five days old and bleeding from an ear infection. He even was on feeding tubes for most of his life. And so, his mother, Lacey Spears, began to blog, to share her son’s illness with readers who would listen, in order to gain support, and also, attention. And she may have gone so far as to kill her own son to achieve such attention.
In April the death was ruled a homicide and after being charged by the police, in the county of Westchester, New York, Ms. Lacey turned herself into the police. She pleaded not guilty and was reported to not show much emotion. The New York Times describes the charge as “… murder in the second degree for acting with a depraved indifference that led to her son’s death, but not of intentionally killing him.”
The case has quite an interesting detail though, which prosecutors may or may not be able to use extensively at trial. Ms. Spears is believed to have the mental illness known as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which is often considered a form of child abuse. Those with the illness may intentionally invent or even harm their child or children so that they may seek medical care and attention. Media outlets reporting on the case have mentioned that the actions of Lacey Spears appear to be consistent with Munchausen. Since the case is being decided in Westchester County, where Garnett died, prosecutors are only bringing charges based on the incidents at the two hospitals within the county, as mentioned by The New York Times.
The Journal News has covered in-depth the life and death of Garnett Spears as well as the charges of his mother. Their five-part series, “Losing Garnett the Great: Boy’s deaths reveals mom’s lies” not only provides an insight into this tragic story, but is also mentioned by TIME Magazine as part of what led Lacey Spears to turning herself in.
The Daily Mail has also reported on the lies of Ms. Spears which she sold to the world through her presence with blogging and social media. Such glaring instances include the lies about Garnett’s paternity. His father was not Blake, a hero cop who was killed while in a car accident, but rather Chris Hill, who installs garage doors and is still alive and in Georgia. She also eerily claimed that she had two children, but the second child in reality was a friend’s son whom she babysat for.
That Garnett’s sodium levels were without medical explanation, as was the case with most of his other medical maladies, is not the only detail that is pertinent to prosecutors. As The Daily Mail also reported:
As the investigation continued, a neighbor who asked not to be named told the News Journal that as Spears’ son lay dying she asked her to go to her home and dispose of one of the boy’s feeding bags – which allegedly contained a large amount of sodium.
The neighbor said that they did initially remove the bag – but then phoned the police and turned it over when they heard about the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death.
A source close to the investigation said: ‘Medical investigators have ruled that this was a homicide, meaning someone killed the boy, either intentionally or unintentionally. As it stands, the investigation focuses solely on his mother.’
And mentioned by The New York Times:
A Westchester County assistant district attorney, Doreen Lloyd, said investigators found evidence on Ms. Spears’s computer indicating she had researched the effects that a high level of salt could have on a child.
“This mother was intentionally feeding her son salt in toxic levels,” Ms. Lloyd said in court on Tuesday.
The New York times refers throughout to Lacey Spears’ blogging and social media habits and her need for attention. It was Garnett who had to pay the price for his mother’s desires and fixations for attention which not only resulted in instances of medical abuse, but his death. May justice be served for Garnett.