My Sweet Angel: The True Story of Lacey Spears, the Seemingly Perfect Mother Who Murdered Her Son in Cold Blood
English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and Found, Secrets in the Cellar, Playing with Fire, and many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 years of experience as an investigative journalist in England and America. Glatt left school at 16 and worked a variety of jobs—including tea boy and messenger—before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited and freelanced for publications including Newsweek and the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, and he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared on television and radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He and his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains and London.
On Jan. 21, 2014, Lacey Spears killed her 5-year-old son. Her weapon of choice was a bottle of water, surreptitiously administered against doctor’s orders.
The death of little Garnett in a Westchester County hospital became national news, the tale of a deranged mom driven to kill by a rare mental illness: Munchausen by proxy syndrome.The new book “My Sweet Angel” is the product of author John Glatt’s 18 months researching Spears’ life story in almost forensic detail.
Garnett was only in the hospital, fighting for his life, because of a near-lethal dose of sodium slipped into his system through an intravenous feeding tube.
My Sweet Angel: The True Story of Lacey Spears, the Seemingly Perfect…
Blueprint for murder so expertly executed and orchestrated that many medical and health officials although noticing red flags and seeing medical emergencies failed to stop what one mother planned. Department of Human Resources and other child protective agencies monitored what this mother claimed to be doing to care for her child yet the blinders that they wore were as powerful as if everyone had blinding cataracts preventing them from seeing clearly and blurring their vision or the truth. Within the headlines in January of 2015 Lacey Spears finally got what she so rightly deserved and probably deserved more as a court of law finally sentenced her in the death of her five-year-old son Garnett. As the story opens we meet her as she manages to infiltrate the lives of many unsuspecting mothers who fall prey to her wiles and actually allow her to care for their children. Becoming so attached to them she often posted herself with them on facebook alluding to the fact that she was their mother. Parents noticing that their children were healthy and fine before having sleepovers and visits with this young woman yet continuing to have them in her care. The façade she put on fooled many as her demeanor appeared to be one of a caring and thoughtful caregiver. She even opened her own daycare center and finally decided and plotted to convince a young man named Chris Hill that he was the right man for her. As a result she became pregnant with this child claiming that he was not the father but her deceased boyfriend was. What did the doctors, nurses and many health care providers miss within the pages of this book as described by the author? As you get to know Lacey Spears to mother in question you will realize that she at times became dramatic, there were unclear symptoms that were not controllable and became more severe or change once treatment began. At times she appeared to be a loving and caring mother but when her son Garnett was born she became overly obsessed. Posting pictures of him calling him “MY SWEET ANGEL,” and making references to what a wonderful mother she was, this poor and unsuspecting child spend the bulk of his five years in and out of hospitals, operating rooms and living in an environment that caused him to become sick. The sicker he became the more dramatic she became and the more attention she hoped to get by placing pictures, photos and other information on Facebook eliciting sympathy not for Garnett but for herself. Claiming to have some nursing training and using medical terms she managed to fool many yet the main victim was her son and the other children who she cared for. Others for this illness are apparent in the patient observe symptoms. Yet when social services and other agencies were called in for some reason although some might have suspected abuse no one did anything about it not her friends, the agencies, the hospitals where some did flag it and report it, no one followed through. Constantly insisting that her son have medical tests, operations and other probably unnecessary procedures it is hard to understand why a hospital or any medical facility didn’t realize that when she was not with this child he thrived and when returned suffered. At times when the doctors requested Garnett’s medical records she never gave them or any medical history. Lacey appeared to be self-absorbed and lacked self-esteem and the only way she got any attention was to make her son sick and poison him with high amounts of concentration of salt through her stomach tube. Many doctors felt he did not need it but she made sure she found someone that would comply with her wishes. The short amount revealed about her relationship with her own mother might explain why she physically abused her son at times.
As I read the many facebook entries in her different accounts and hear her words it is heartbreaking that no one realized or if they did, that she was in need of some type of mental health intervention. Her own family purported that she was an excellent parent and cared for Garnett. How could they even think that and how could any child be sick with ear infections so often and no one realized the oddity of it? More than sad!
The Facebook entries are inconsistent and although some people realized that she was looking for attention the postings were filled with anger, remorse, threats that she wanted to end her life and other ways to gain the pity of those within these groups especially someone named Rebecca Thompson who seemed to support her in every way. When her own grandmother questioned her and showed her love for her son, she became angry, jealous and despondent.
The postings became more disoriented and filled with different kinds of emotions that would normally alert anyone that was really focused on her words that she was more concerned about getting the sympathy and pity for herself then for her son. When various child protective services finally realized what she might have done and the doctors and nurses at Westchester Medical Center called them in and then the police, Garnett was brain dead and had received salt in his feeding tube which led to more of an investigation. Throughout his stay they realized that his sodium levels were too high and when Lacey was told not to give him anything to eat or drink or go near his feeding tube she became angry and started making phone calls on her phone, justifying herself as a great mother and although Rebecca her sister and her friend including some from Tulip House stated she was a wonderful mother only some realized that it might actually have been her fault. A child that had no chance to really live and a mother who created her own fantasy world filled with a dead father named Blake, ex-ing out his real father and not allowing him any contract with his son, and living her life as if she had more children, lost some and creating a world that only she lived in and no one else. The three detectives from Westchester County and teamed up with a team from Ramapo County to get Justice for Garnett. Reading the interviews with police and hearing her voice she changed tones, demeanor and at time was totally unemotional. It was all about her. “ In an interview with CBS News in her 48 hour special: A Mother Accused, she states: I didn’t hurt him. I didn’t kill my son I never poisoned him with salt. Garnet died in January of 2014 from what doctors stated as a life-threatening level of sodium in his system and in many different areas of outlets. No one before his death could figure out how this could happen, why he suffered ear infections, what caused his seizure-like symptoms. Why would any mother intentional kill her son? Her blog posts on Garnett’s Journey included pictures of her son dressed up for Halloween and in some other postings pictures of him on Facebook with his feeding tube, breathing tubes and other sad pictures of this fragile child. She even wrote on one: “Here’s to another year. Many memories. Lots of laughs.” Then as the investigation comes underway she started deleting things and when the Fellowship asked her to move out she was furious and defended her actions and blamed everything on the doctors.
As the trial begins the Assistant DA gives a powerful opening statement that sets the tone for the entire trial. Spears made sure that she gave her son high amounts of sodium in his stomach tube which caused brain swelling and the death of this precious child. Just looking at the photos of Lacey and seeing her indifferent countenance, the smile on this child’s face and the sadness on her father’s it was both heart wrenching and horrific. The feeding bag found in her apartment had 69 bags of McDonald’s salt packets in it according to Associated Press. The author explained in detail Munchausen by proxy which causes someone caring for another person to fake, pretend of cause the illness of his or her patient. Voicing that she does not have this illness and she would not harm her child she asked for help for him saying she was his advocate.
So many were fooled by her as they expressed sympathy and understanding by answering her on Facebook, commenting on her numerous blogs and texting her with their wishes and prayers. Even her own grandmother did not believe her.
The investigators talked to all of the medical staff that came in contact with Garnett and many of the assessments questioned whether his mother was poisoning him while others felt he was perfectly happy and healthy. Reporter Shawn Cohen conducted a parallel investigation interviewing many of the same people who were friends with Lacey and who she unfriended when they did not comply with her wishes or she thought they betrayed her. Accessing her social media accounts was quite revealing and working in conjunction with the other police department would help open up a piece of evidence when viewing the video of Garnett’s EEG that will break the reader’s heart. The grand jury indicted her for murder and her lawyers insisted she return to New York. When the prosecution spoke the judge denied bail. After the compelling detailed account of what she did how could he even allow her to go free for one more minute.
As you read the events of the trial and hear Judge Neary’s voice and that of the defense team and Prosecution you realize just how many people were blindsided or chose to turn a blind eye to her actions. Lacey used Garnett as an object not a person to get what she wanted and that was sympathy, empathy and attention from friends, family and medical staffs of numerous hospitals to draw attention to herself as being a fit and caring mother. The fact that so many red flags were noted and child services was brought in and yet no one thought to take this precious child and place him with someone loving and caring is criminal. The sad part is that she conned a friend to take the feeding bag she used to poison him and hide it in her own house. The fact that the nurse who realized something was wrong made a note of it yet no one followed through until Garnett was taken into the bathroom perfectly fine and returned critically ill. The expressions that she person showed at times that were critical makes this reviewer think she was like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One person with two personalities and yet it’s hard to find the Jekyll in her at all. When the sentence was pronounced and you the reader hear the Judge’s final degree and Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd’s plea for the maximum sentence as she so perfectly states her actions: were inhuman, they were despicable and they were evil. Yet the defense felt she was hard-working and loved her son while at the Fellowship working and caring for others yet all the while planning and plotting to destroy her son. Garnett closed his eyes on Jan. 23, 2014 at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. Author John Glatt completes this book with his in prison interview with Lacey Spears. Hear her words as she denies it all. People with Munchausen by Proxy are devious, dangerous and if you are a medical worker, family member, educator or clergyman and you suspect something don’t stay silent. Read it for yourself and your decide: DID GARNETT get justice? This is a must read for everyone.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
I dedicate this review to the memory of Garnett and to the three detectives that finally brought her down.