Florida Mother Sentenced For Purposefully Poisoning Her Premature Infant

Shauna Lee Taylor, who suffers from the disorder Munchausen syndrome by proxy, was convicted of force-feeding her baby iron pills.

A Florida mother of 10 will spend more than a decade behind bars after a jury convicted her of intentionally poisoning her baby, prosecutors said.

Shauna Lee Taylor, 40, was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for feeding iron pills to her premature infant in what prosecutors said was a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness in which the caretaker of a child invents or creates an illness in a bid for attention.

Taylor, a resident of MacClenny, Florida, faced a total of 45 years in prison after being convicted in August of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, prosecutors said.

Taylor first came to the attention of authorities following the birth of her child in November of 2012, when the baby was repeatedly readmitted to the hospital with symptoms either exaggerated or falsified by Taylor, according to prosecutors.

After three visits to the hospital in March of 2013, and after several tests showed the child was suffering from liver damage and tested positive for iron levels far above normal, doctors began to suspect that the baby’s illness could be a case of intentional poisoning, officials said.

During that period, Florida state officials received an anonymous tip that Taylor—who had previously been diagnosed with Munchausen by proxy—was abusing the child, according to the state attorney’s office.

Once under hospital supervision, the baby’s blood iron levels returned to normal, prosecutors said. After further reviewing Taylor’s record, investigators found prior accusations of abuse of her nine other children. Authorities then took custody of the children.

Annie Schreiber, a daughter of Taylor’s who testified at a sentencing hearing Wednesday, told the court her mother had abused her, according to Action News Jacksonville.

“I was given, you know, a drug. I was given Insulin so it's a little different. I was in the hospital," the daughter said. "She would put it in, you know, in my milk.”

Schreiber added that she never wanted to see her mother again, the news station reported.

[Photo: Baker County Sheriff's Office]

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