A Georgia woman has been arrested after police say she faked her 5-year-old son’s illness, forcing him to undergo 28 unnecessary procedures and medications, so that she could collect his disability check.
Teresa Lynne Roth, 34, has been charged with first-degree child cruelty after investigators say she was behind a years-long ruse that misrepresented the boy’s health and forced him to undergo painful and unnecessary procedures, including putting in a feeding tube.
"It's messed up, you know? It's not normal," Lt. Scott Ware of the Hall County Sheriff's Office told WSB-TV.
The boy was also in a wheelchair and had an oxygen tank while in the care of his parents.
“Between January 2016 and October 2018 Mrs. Roth did cause her son unnecessary physical and mental pain by subjecting him to undergo unnecessary medical treatments and medications, jeopardizing his well-being,” Ware said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Investigators now say the severe illnesses she reported were made up.
The four-month investigation into her behavior began after the sheriff’s office was contacted by the Department of Family and Children’s Services in October 2018. The department took custody of the boy at the time and report that he is now doing well and no longer receiving medical interventions.
Investigators say they have considered whether Roth may have had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder that causes a caregiver to seek attention by making up medical signs or symptoms in someone else.
They also believe the boy’s parents may have simply been motivated by the desire to collect a monthly disability check.
“They were receiving disability, but now that the child’s not in their custody, they’re not,” Ware said.
Charges against the boy’s father may also be possible, investigators said.
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