NEW YORK (WKRN) – A mother in New York is accused of poisoning her son with salt so she could get attention on social media sites.
Lacey Spears, 26, turned herself in to police Tuesday, according to WABC-TV.
She pleaded not guilty to depraved murder and manslaughter charges.
On January 17, Spears took her 5-year-old son Garnett-Paul to a hospital and said he was suffering from seizures.
Doctors became suspicious when his sodium levels mysteriously started to spike.
“During the afternoon, that child goes from moderate to severe cerebral dysfunction,” prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said in court. “And as that is going on, this child’s sodium level is going up. It coincides with the actions of this defendant.”
Garnett-Paul was transferred to a different hospital where he died a few days later.
Prosecutors said Spears poisoned her son by putting salt in the boy’s feeding tube in his stomach. The child had been using the feeding tube since he was nine-months-old due to health problems.
Authorities believe Spears poisoned her son with salt three times in January and may have medically abused him for years so she could get sympathy online.
Each time he became sick, she reportedly documented her son’s illness on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, and she kept a blog about coping with her son’s health problems after her husband had passed.
In 2009, when Garnett-Paul was one-year-old, Spears posted on Twitter: “My sweet angel is in the hospital for the 23rd time. Please pray he gets to come home soon.”
She also announced her son’s passing on Facebook.
Officials believe Spears may have suffered from the mental disorder Munchausen syndrome by proxy, where a parent intentionally sickens a child for attention.
If she is convicted for her son’s death, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in prison.