Mental illness is no joke. Especially when it might involve telling a 9-year-old boy he has cancer when he doesn't.
That's exactly what a New Jersey mother of four, Susan Stillwaggon, has been a accused of doing. She also allegedly accepted $3,500 worth of donations from family and friends since March for her son's bogus stage 3 lymphoma.
Stillwaggon, 35, has been charged with theft by deception, forgery, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a child to commit a criminal offense, ABC reports.
After news got out through her Facebook page about her son's fake cancer, she accepted money from several charity events that were organized including a bake sale and bingo game. The scam was revealed when police got an anonymous tip.
"Investigation confirmed that the boy does not suffer from any life-threatening illnesses," a local police department news release states.
Stillwagon is currently in a psychiatric hospital receiving treatment, says her mother.
“I will just tell you that my daughter is sick. Something snapped in her head, don’t know what. That’s why she is where she is so we can find out what’s wrong,” her mother tells CBS.
This is not the first court case involving a parent lyingabout their child being ill.
Earlier this month, an Australian woman was charged in a case involving the alleged poisoning her daughter with chemotherapy drugs over a 10-month period.
In both these incidents a mental health diagnosis of the mothers have not yet been made. However, previous legal cases might indicate the mothers have Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a serious mental disorder in which a caregiver, often a mother, pretends a child is sick and seeks unneeded medical attention in order to gain sympathy. It is considered a form of child abuse and the cause is unknown.
By contrast, Munchausen syndrome is a disorder in which someone with a deep need for attention pretends to be sick themselves or gets sick or injured on purpose.
Seems the woman is claiming mental illness. Seems like a cop-out to me. Either way I feel bad for the community and most importantly the kid. That'll leave some emotional scars.
Edited by Magikal, 29 April 2013 - 05:19 PM.