A Texas mom has admitted to subjecting her healthy son to unneeded medical procedures — including 13 major surgeries.
Kaylene Bowen, 35, began bringing her son, Christopher, to unnecessary doctors’ appointments when he was 11 days old, officials said. His care eventually included more than 320 hospital and doctors’ visits.
By the time he was 8 years old, the boy had undergone the more than a dozen major surgeries and was confined to a wheelchair, according to prosecutors.
Authorities allege that Bowen committed crimes that appeared to fit the description of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a caregiver lies or exaggerates a child’s medical symptoms to get attention.
Bowen pleaded guilty Thursday in a Dallas County court to recklessly causing injury to her son, who is now 10 years old, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. He is no longer in a wheelchair.
Over the years, Bowen had launched fundraisers for the Christopher, claiming that he was dying from a rare genetic disorder and had cancer, the newspaper reported.
The boy was removed from Bowen’s care in 2017 when Dallas hospital staff reported to Child Protective Services that he didn’t have cancer or many of the other symptoms that his mother insisted he had.
Christopher’s father, who now has custody of the child, responded on Friday to Bowen’s plea in the case.
“I am happy that she decided to do the right thing. Eventually, the lies had to stop,” the boy’s father, Ryan Crawford, told the Star-Telegram. “Now, hopefully, those who thought a mother could never do this to their child will see evil does exist.”
Bowen faces up to 20 years in prison. She’s set to be sentenced Oct. 11.