At age 9, Kristin Shreve’s youngest son was wearing a diaper, being fed through a feeding tube because he could not tolerate food orally, and using a wheelchair or wagon to get around.
View the full investigative report on Munchausen syndrome by proxy here.
Court documents allege that Shreve lied about her son’s medical history and even led one doctor to suspect the boy was suffering from a rare neurodegenerative process that typically results in death. He referred Shreve, now 40, to seek palliative care for pain management and end-of-life issues for her son.
But as treatment of the boy continued, the doctor told investigators that he began to suspect medical child abuse.
Included in the boy’s treatment:
- Nine visits to respiratory specialists, including two sleep studies.
- 18 visits to gastroenterologists, resulting in 14 procedures.
- 19 visits to neurologists, resulting in 10 procedures (all normal except two borderline abnormal findings).
- 25 medications.
August 2008: Feeding tube placed
At age 8, Shreve’s son undergoes surgery for a feeding tube after his mother says alternative treatments have failed to address the boy’s feeding issues.
December 2009: Son admitted to hospital
A doctor persuades Shreve to let him admit her son into Cook Children’s Medical Center, where he asked for food and ate with a normal appetite for a boy his age. He used the restroom like any other and could walk long distances with ease, contrary to his mother’s statements.
Shreve, of Fort Worth, becomes upset at the medical staff for making her son walk and insists that he be given breathing treatments at night. She also is caught feeding her son baby food.
January 2010: Investigation begins
Child Protective Services and the Tarrant County district attorney’s office begin investigations. Shreve’s son and his older brother are placed in the care of a relative. Before his release from the hospital, the younger son’s feeding tube is removed and the 25 medications he was on are whittled down to six.
January 2010: Dealing with separation
Shreve posts on her Facebook page about her anguish resulting from being separated from her sons, telling friends she gets to visit them four hours a day and for longer periods on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“Sad to say tomorrow marks a whole month separated from my boys. I pray that over soon.” she wrote Jan. 13, 2010.
When friends ask the next day about her son’s health, Shreve writes that he’s doing much better and is now walking.
“No more wheelchair. Awesome isn’t it,” she posts.
Spring 2010: Doctors confirm boy is not sick
Doctors tell DA’s investigator Michael Weber that there is no medical explanation for the boy’s sudden recovery once he was under supervised care. Instead, they say, it shows that Shreve gave a false medical history about her son.
July 2010: Grand jury returns indictment
Shreve is indicted on a charge of injury to a child stemming from her son’s feeding tube placement surgery in August 2008.
April 2011: Shreve gets seven years’ probation
As part of a plea deal, Shreve pleads no contest to recklessly causing serious bodily injury to her son in exchange for seven years’ of deferred adjudication probation, a $700 fine, and an agreement to undergo counseling and abide by family court stipulation on supervised visits with her children.
Her younger son now lives with a relative.