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.