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Munchausen by Proxy | Factitious Disorder by Proxy

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Munchausen by Proxy | Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another

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Munchausen by Proxy is a mental illness. It is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their charge. It is associated with severe emotional difficulties and is a relatively rare behavioral disorder.

The person with Munchausen by Proxy (also now referred to as factitious disorder imposed on another or FDIA) gains much sought after attention – which is in fact the true goal – by seeking medical help for exaggerated or made-up symptoms of a child (or perhaps elderly person) in their care.

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy simply put is an attention-seeking, sociopathic disorder that can often overlap with other disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder and/ or borderline personality disorder.  

An Overview of Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Munchausen by Proxy

Medical Child Abuse is a term that refers to a child receiving unnecessary and/or even harmful care as a result of a parent or caregiver exaggerating symptoms, fabricating physical findings or intentionally inducing illness in a child.

Little is known about the perpetrators of medical child abuse, which is often described as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or factitious disorder imposed on another. However, research does show that nearly all abusers are female (97.6%) and that 96% of the time it is the victim’s own mother.

A Behavioral or Compulsive Disorder


A mother or caregiver with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy will create symptoms of illness in their own child(ren) in order to get attention for themselves. As a result, they may do “real” harm to the child in order to fabricate symptoms. Moreover, the children may receive unnecessary and often dangerous treatments in order to try and determine (and alleviate) the (often) unusual reported problem, in some cases causing the child to become truly sick or even die.

It must be understood that, in most cases, this is not the desired outcome from the caregiver with the disease. They only crave the attention from those around them. Those who see and praise them for being that loving, devoted mother or caregiver of the “ailing” child. Likewise however, most women with the disorder do not feel empathy for their young victim. They are simply an end to a means – attention, sympathy and/or praise showered upon themselves.

Lacey Spears
Lacey Spears and Garrett

Lacey Spears

Lacey Spears, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter of her 5-year-old son. On March 2, 2015, a jury found Spears guilty of murdering her son by poisoning him with table salt, which she had administered to him from infancy, through a feeding tube.

Her son Garnett was born healthy in 2008, but he soon fell ill, requiring emergency attention for projectile vomiting, seizure-like symptoms, bleeding ear infections and digestive issues.

Prosecutors said that there was evidence that Spears had taken her son to 20 different medical facilities over the course of his life without relaying information between each doctor.

Spears, who chronicled Garnett’s illnesses on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and a personal blog called ‘Garnett’s Journey’, still managed to convince a doctor to perform a procedure that would prevent the boy from vomiting.

She then convinced a doctor to insert a gastric tube, claiming Garnett had problems eating, even though friends often noted he had a healthy appetite while in their care. 

Garrett died at the age of five due to Lacey Spears need for constant attention and praise.

 20 Years to Life


2Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is considered by many professionals to be one of the most dangerous forms of child abuse.

Munchausen by Proxy
Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee

Dee Dee Blanchard

Dee Dee, whose real name was Claudine, began nearly at once proclaiming her baby as ill. Sleep apnea came first. Then, when Gypsy was around eight years old, Dee Dee described her as suffering from leukemia and muscular dystrophy. She said her daughter required a feeding tube and then a wheelchair.

Over time, the little girl’s ailments would come to include seizures, asthma and hearing and visual impairments. And then it was cancer. Dee Dee shaved Gypsy bald to reflect the appearance of that lie. Gypsy was prescribed a plethora of medications over the years and had to sleep using a breathing machine. She also went through multiple (unnecessary) surgeries.

In truth, Gypsy Rose wasn’t sick at all. Gypsy could actually walk., she did not have asthma nor did she have cancer. She had a mother with Munchausen by Proxy.

And, throughout Gypsy’s ordeal, a few people had actually figured it out. But Dee Dee was quick and swiftly removed those family members and doctors from their life. Dee Dee liked the life she had built, using her daughter as a cash cow, gaining sympathy, favors, special treatment and hand outs. And, as a nurse, she was educated enough to keep the ruse going.

That is until her victim caught on.

After meeting a young man online, Gypsy wanted her life. Something she now understood her mother would never allow. So, after explaining her situation, she convinced the young man to murder her mother so she could be free and they could be together. In June 2015, the young man arrived and proceeded to stab Dee Dee to death.

Murdered by Gypsy’s Boyfriend


3Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is rare and treatable, but not curable.

Hope Ybarra

Hope Ybarra

Hope Ybarra kept a blog detailing her life as a young mother living with cancer. It garnished her the sympathy, gifts and attention she desperately wanted. However, Hope did not have, nor had she ever had, cancer. But it didn’t stop there.

Ybarra would also fabricated illnesses in her two young children. Once discovered, Hope would confessed that she poisoned her youngest daughter with pathogens stolen from her workplace that caused anaphylactic shock that nearly killed the little girl. It was also revealed that she would use nasal spray to manipulate test results for cystic fibrosis.

10 Year Sentence


4 Manufacturing medical illnesses is common with those who suffer with Munchausen by Proxy

Rachel Kinsella

Rachel Kinsella

Rachel Kinsella’s nine year old son was extremely sick. Near death in fact. But it would appear only when he was in his mother’s care.

It finally came to light that Rachel was using two hospitals and two pharmacys, neither knowing about the other, to stockpile medications that she then used to poison her own son. A seixure at school was finally the reason used to look a bit closer at Rachel rather than poor Patrick. Patrick was removed from the home and Rachel was arrested and sent to prison for child endangerment and and first degree assult

25 Years in Prison



Filicide is the act of killing one’s own child/children

Infanticide is child murder in the first year of life.

Neonaticide is the murder of a child in the first 24 hours of life. Nearly all neonaticides are committed by mothers.

Sources: | | WebMD | |

Christine Adewunmi
Christine Adewunmi

Christine Adewunmi

Maternal Filicide

Christine Adewunmi was so serious about killing herself that she researched how to commit suicide on the internet.

Unfortunately she decided that she would have to take all three of the children with her. Even in death she would be near her beloved little girls.

On March 17th, 2012, Christine waited until her husband had left the house. She loaded her three children in the family SUV and drove them to a dead end on a gravel road where she proceeded to shoot each one of them in the head. Then she turned the gun to herself.

Altruistic Filicide