(NBC Los Angeles) – It was a day full of sometimes shocking testimony in a Dallas courtroom Friday.
Sentencing just ended for Kaylene Bowen-Wright, a mother who faked her son’s illness for years, causing him to get surgeries he didn’t need.
Wright pleaded guilty to seriously injuring her son and faced up to 20 years behind bars. The state pushed for the max, but the judge settled on six years in prison.
According to his dad, Ryan Crawford, Christopher Bowen is now a happy, thriving 10-year-old who loves soccer and choir, but it wasn’t always that way.
” Every single illness led up to eventually that he was dying every time we went to court, ” Crawford said.
The fifth grader spent the first eight years of his life in and out of hospitals. His mother seemingly suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy. ( Munchausen by proxy — is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care). She pleaded guilty to seriously injuring him since birth, earlier this year.
On Friday, Crawford testified the saga cost him years with his child.
” It was too much manipulation, too many lies, I didn’t know what to do, ” he said.
Crawford fought for years to get custody. All the while, Christopher was subjected to unnecessary surgeries and feeding tubes, as his mother bounced between doctors.
” A lot of times we’re basing the next steps of care based on what’s happened previously, ” said Dr. Suzanne Dakil , of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Wright claimed their son had everything from muscular dystrophy, to heart issues, to seizures, to cancer ” all over his body. ”
Dr. Dakil , a child abuse pediatrician, testified that the treatment sometimes led to complications. He was exposed to unnecessary radiation and according to her testimony, got sepsis six times from IV infections and also suffered blood clots.
Crawford said family court judges never took him seriously.
” Any claims that she would make, and I would state ‘that’s not true’, I was never believed, ” he said.
Doctors at childrens ‘ hospitals in both Dallas and Houston trusted the mother until it became clear, things didn’t add up.
” To say no you’re lying seems harsh, and what if you’re wrong? ” Dr. Dakil said. ” Our hospital made a CPS report in 2015, Texas Children’s was ready to make a CPS report in 2017. Ultimately, I ended up making that report because he was back in Dallas. ”
She said Christopher often appeared healthier than the mom was presenting.
He was able to eat normally, despite the feeding tube and able to run and play, despite a wheelchair.
After her report, he was removed from Wright’s care in 2017.
” My heart dropped. I knew at that moment Christopher was safe for the first time ever , ” Crawford said.
He now has full custody.
This was an open guilty plea, meaning the judge was allowed to decide Wright’s fate after the sentencing hearing.
Several people took the stand. including a psychologist who testified that the emotional damage from this case could last a lifetime. She also said treatment for Wright likely wouldn’t work and that subjecting Christopher to future visitation could inflict additional trauma.
The judge called this case disturbing, again, eventually landing on a six-year prison sentence.
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