Broken Arrow Woman Accused Of Having Daughter Treated For Fake Illness
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - A Broken Arrow mother is in jail on an unusual charge of child abuse. Investigators say the mom forced her little girl to go through painful medical procedures in a desperate search for attention.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office says 37-year-old Victoria Lee's obsession with getting her daughter treated for a fake illness resulted in at least 11 unnecessary and invasive procedures. Investigators say Lee was actually hurting her daughter every time she took the girl to the doctor.
"Most of these people just want some type, or need some type, of attention for themselves, and unfortunately their child gets hurt in the process," said Tulsa County Assistant DA Sarah McAmis.
In 18 years, McAmis said she has only prosecuted three child abuse cases involving Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Lee's case will be her fourth.
"It is very rare, because of course, most people want the best for their child," McAmis said.
You may have heard of the syndrome from movies and television shows. It was the subject of an episode of Law and Order: SVU. It's a form of child abuse in which a primary caregiver fabricates a child's illness or symptoms to medical professionals, with dangerous consequences.
"They would profess a great love for their child and that they wanted to protect their child and that they wanted to get help for their child, when really, that's not at all the case," McAmis said.
Lee is accused of lying about symptoms from 2006, when the child was born, up until March 2013.
Doctors would perform tests to find the problem. According to court documents, the girl underwent six MRIs, each of which required anesthesia, a spinal tap, EKGs, CT scans, bladder studies and physical therapy sessions.
Prosecutors say there are additional procedures that aren't listed.
"Any of those procedures would be painful to any adult," McAmis said. "You put that in the mind of a child, who has no control over his or her situation, and no ability to get him or herself out of that situation, and it's really just horrifying and really just sad to know what these kids experience."
Victoria Lee is in the Tulsa County jail in lieu of a $35,000 bond.
Court documents show the girl's father applied Tuesday for temporary custody. She's currently in DHS custody.