Mom accused of killing son for online attention

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A 26-year-old woman who documented her young son’s persistent illness on social media was charged Tuesday with killing him by poisoning him with sodium.

Lacey Spears of Scottsville, Kentucky, was indicted on charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the death of 5-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears.

Depraved murder is a count often used in cases that suggest extreme recklessness rather than intentional killing. It carries the same maximum sentence, however — 25 years to life.

Spears graduated from high school in Decatur, Alabama, and studied nursing at a Calhoun Community College. She and her son left Decatur when he was about 2.

Spears, who living in Chestnut Ridge at the time of her son’s death, brought her son to Nyack Hospital in Rockland County on Jan. 17, reporting he was having seizures. On Jan. 19, with no medical explanation, Garnett-Paul’s sodium levels rose to an extremely dangerous level. Spears was sharing her son’s hospital room and prosecutors believe the mother administered sodium through the boy’s stomach tube.

The boy was transferred to the Westchester Medical Center. The Westchester district attorney says doctors there suspected Spears was harming her son and called New York state children’s services, which launched an investigation.

Spears pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday and was being held without bail. A call to her lawyer, David Sachs, was not immediately returned.

The Journal News, in a recent series on Spears, found that in the weeks and months before Garnett-Paul’s death, and even his final days, she shared on Facebook, Twitter and a blog much of what she and her son went through.

People closely followed “Garnett’s Journey,” Spears’ blog, as well as her Facebook and Twitter accounts, for update’s on her son’s condition, which she said deteriorated rapidly in the weeks prior to his death. Police say Spears exhibits signs of Munchausen by proxy, a disorder that leads a parent to look for sympathy or attention by sickening or injuring a child.