CHESTNUT RIDGE - The former Chestnut Ridge mother accused of deliberately killing her son for attention and sympathy is being held on suicide watch at the Westchester County Jail.
Lacey Spears, 26, is also being kept away from other inmates because of the notoriety of the case. Spears was indicted earlier this week on murder and manslaughter charges for allegedly killing her 5-year-old, Garnett. Spears claims her son had severe stomach problems that required a feeding tube, but prosecutors say she placed a large amount of sodium in the tube, killing him back in January.
Police believe Spears may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychiatric disorder where parents deliberately harm their children for sympathy and attention. Prosecutors say Spears blogged about her son and his health problems online and claims she moved around the country to seek the best treatment.
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"Whether it's exaggerating or creating symptoms, the idea or the goal is to gain attention through the individual," says Dr. Mark Sirkin, the director of mental health at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry.
Spears is being monitored by the jail's mental health director, but no psychiatric evaluation has been ordered.