Prosecutors say Carrie Weaver, left, used Ipecac, an over-the-counter drug that induces vomiting, to keep her son ill and thereby gain attention for herself. The boy, now 11, has recovered. Weaver was found guilty of child endangering yesterday and is to be sentenced June 8.
Nearly two years after her son was taken away from her, Carrie Weaver last night was found guilty of felony child endangering in what Lucas County prosecutors called a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Weaver, 28, of Toledo was surrounded by tearful family members as she left the courtroom, ending the emotional, weeklong trial that focused predominantly on medical testimony.
She faces up to eight years in prison when she is sentenced June 8 by Judge James Jensen. Until then, she is free on bond.
Weaver was indicted in October, 2005, on the child endangering charge, about five months after her son was removed from her care.
Prosecutors accused her of giving her son chronic doses of Ipecac, an over-the-counter product that induces vomiting.
Calling it a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, prosecutors presented evidence that showed Weaver not as the doting mother at her sick son's bedside, but as the person who made her son ill to bring attention to herself.
"We're absolutely pleased. We've been working on this for two whole years," said Lori Olander, an assistant county prosecutor. "Munchausen by proxy cases, those are all very difficult. We had seven different doctors testify that we had Munchausen by proxy."
Throughout the trial, prosecutors interviewed the many doctors who cared for Weaver's son through his illness. The pediatric specialists testified that they were unable to make a diagnosis until the boy was transferred to a hospital in Michigan where a doctor recognized signs of Ipecac poisoning.
The boy, now 11, testified on the first day of the trial that the illnesses that plagued him during 2004-05 have stopped since he was removed from his mother's care.
He recalled the many days spent in hospitals and the times he spent vomiting and having trouble breathing.
Yesterday, Ms. Olander said that the boy, who now lives with his father, is doing well and is healthy.
Defense attorneys showed a different side of Weaver by questioning family and friends about her character and her dedication as a mother.
Attorney Lorin Zaner also presented evidence suggesting that what ailed Weaver's son was not Ipecac but toxic mold in the home where the two lived with Weaver's mother.
Mr. Zaner called a certified mold inspector and a pathology expert to testify that mold was found in the home and that it was the cause of the boy's heart problems.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about four hours before reaching a verdict just after 9 last night.
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