TIME Crime

Mommy Blogger Lacey Spears Pleads Not Guilty to Fatally Poisoning Her Son

Critics say she did it for online attention

For 26-year-old mother Lacey Spears, the internet served as her support group. The single mom blogged, tweeted, and MySpaced about the physical deterioration of her son Garnett. Spears sought solace in a cultivated online community when she blogged about Garnett’s 23 hospitalizations in the first year of his life to his last month alive in January, when the 5-year-old died with a lethal amount of sodium in his system in a hospital in Westchester, NY.

But law enforcement have come to question the highly documented narrative of a doting mother. Police say that Spears wasn’t helping her ambiguously ill son, but rather was poisoning him for years in a bid for attention and sympathy in a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Following the release of a five-part exposé by The Journal News and the filing of police charges, Spears turned herself in to authorities Tuesday and pled not guilty to second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter.

Spears’ illness was allegedly fed by online attention, and prosecutors said that the Internet-savvy mother had searched online for the effects salt would have on her son’s health before taking him to the hospital January 17, after she said he experienced seizures. He died six days later after his sodium levels rose sans medical explanation. Investigators suspect that she fatally poisoned him through his feeding tube.

Apart from saying “yes sir,” to a judge in court, Spears remained silent. “She really didn’t show any emotion,” Westchester Police Capt. Christopher Calabrese told CBS News. “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.”

Spears is expected to reappear in court on July 2. She faces up to 25 years in prison.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team