Investigators in Texas suspect a Dallas-area mom has Munchausen by proxy and they have charged her with allegedly seeking unnecessary medical care for her 8-year-old son — including taking him for treatment more than 300 times and subjecting him to more than a dozen major surgeries.
Kaylene Bowen-Wright, 34, is being held on $150,000 bail after being charged by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office with injury to a child with serious bodily harm, according to investigative documents obtained by PEOPLE.
It is unclear if Bowen-Wright has entered a plea and PEOPLE was unable to determine Thursday if she has a lawyer who could comment on her behalf. She reportedly denied allegations of abuse when speaking with Child Protective Services last month.
At the time of her arrest last week, Bowen-Wright’s son was on oxygen, had a feeding tube and was taking medicine to regulate seizures, authorities say.
But he needed none of it, according to physicians cited in the documents supplied by CPS.
Bowen-Wright also allegedly told several people that her son had cancer and she even tried getting his name on a list for patients in need of lung transplants. For portions of his life, the boy has been wheelchair-bound and was also placed into hospice care, the CPS documents state.
The documents allege that Bowen-Wright may have Munchausen by proxy, a rare form of abuse in which a guardian exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention and sympathy.
Authorities started looking into Bowen-Wright last month after she brought her son to a Dallas hospital claiming he had had a seizure, the documents state. While medical staffers observed the child shaking, they could find no sign he actually experienced a seizure.
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Believing the boy’s symptoms may have been caused intentionally, doctors contacted CPS, according to the documents. Hospital staffers even suggested Bowen-Wright was inducing her son’s symptoms but conceded they had no evidence to confirm that.
According to detectives, Bowen-Wright allegedly began abusing her son 11 days after his birth in 2009. Since then, he has been seen by doctors 323 times, at hospitals and medical facilities in both Dallas and Houston, the documents state.
The documents further claim the child’s feeding tube, which was inserted into his intestines, led to three life-threatening blood infections.
Two years ago, Bowen-Wright launched an online fundraiser for her son and raised more than $8,000, according to the documents. The page stated the boy was fighting a severe case of arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that bypasses the capillary system.
A number of doctors have determined that Bowen-Wright’s son is healthy and that most of the procedures he endured were pointless, the documents state.
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The boy’s father, Ryan Crawford, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram there were warning signs of abuse for years.
Crawford said he and Bowen-Wright briefly dated and that her pregnancy was a surprise. He had worked unsuccessfully to persuade the court that Bowen-Wright was lying about their son, he said, but judges sided with her.
“It’s horrible for my son or any kid, because obviously my son is not the only one that has had to go through this type of torture,” Crawford told the Star-Telegram.
“I encounter tone-deaf family court judges a lot,” one expert told the paper. “They, like most members of the public, can’t let themselves believe that an apparently-loving mother could engage in medical child abuse.
“Obviously mentally, he’s going to need some counseling,” Crawford said of his son’s condition after being removed from Bowen-Wright’s care. “But he is so sweet, so nice, so playful.”