A mother charged with injury to a child in Dallas County for allegedly exposing her 8-year-old son to a lifetime of medical procedures and surgeries through her lies to doctors will be allowed supervised visits with her children, a family court has ruled.
Kaylene Bowen-Wright, 34, is accused of medical child abuse, often known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a caregiver exaggerates or creates medical symptoms in another person, usually to gain attention.
Bowen-Wright was indicted in March on a first-degree felony charge of injury to a child resulting in serious bodily injury to her son, Christopher Bowen.
Investigators allege the mother’s lies and exaggerations caused Christopher, who is 9, to suffer life-threatening blood infections and a lifetime of radiation exposure.
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They say Christopher also suffered "serious mental impairment" from being taught by his mother that he was sick and unable to eat or participate in school and other normal activities, and from being made to use oxygen and a wheelchair when they were not needed.
Tuesday, Associate Judge C. Andrew Ten Eyck of the 301st Family District Court ruled to allow Bowen-Wright to have supervised visits with her children, including once-a-week visits with Christopher.
Under the order, the visits will begin next month and must be “continuously supervised and facilitated by a licensed counselor at all times.”
Heath Hyde, Bowen-Wright’s criminal defense attorney, said the mother was only recently allowed to have supervised phone contact with her son.
“She’s very happy,” Hyde said of the family court’s recent ruling.
Child Protective Services removed Christopher and his two half-siblings from their mother’s care in late November after staff at a Dallas hospital raised concerns about the mother with CPS — the second such report made by medical providers since 2015.
A CPS petition stated that between 2009 and 2016, Christopher had been seen 323 times at hospitals and pediatric centers in Dallas and Houston, and that he underwent 13 major surgeries.
Christopher was initially placed in foster care, but his father, Ryan Crawford, was granted temporary managing conservatorship of him in late December.
Crawford had spent years trying to convince Dallas County Family Court judges that Bowen-Wright was lying about Christopher's health. Though under a gag order imposed by the family court, Crawford previously shared his story with the Star-Telegram.
Bowen-Wright, who has denied the allegations, was arrested in December and later released on bond. Under her bond conditions, she was restricted from any contact with minor children.
Hyde had filed a motion in the criminal case in March seeking to amend the bond conditions to allow supervised visits consistent with any recommendations by the family court.
In response, Dallas County prosecutors asked the court to deny the motion.
They pointed out that the family court had also, at that time, denied Bowen-Wright contact with her children and asked the criminal court to allow the matter of visitation to be decided in family court.
With supervised visits allowed, Hyde said he is focused on the criminal case, which remains in the discovery process.
"We're just going to fight the case and show that she’s not guilty of the criminal allegations,” Hyde said.