Mikel-An Krueger, a 25-year-old Evansville, Indiana, mom, was sentenced Thursday, after she was convicted last month of child neglect causing serious injury. It was a bizarre case in which doctors who examined the woman’s infant son, who was taken to the hospital with frightening “blue spells,” determined that Krueger was deliberately causing the deadly episodes in her baby “for attention.”
The case marked the first time in the state that a guilty verdict was delivered in what appears to be a case of “Munchausen by Proxy” syndrome — a rare mental illness in which a parent deliberately causes, or in some cases invents or exaggerates, injuries to a child and tries to pass them off as serious, naturally occurring medical conditions.
Parents who harm their children due to Munchausen by Proxy often appear outwardly to be normal, loving parents — but some deep and abnormal psychological craving for attention, or perhaps for “the satisfaction in deceiving individuals who they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves,” according to the medical site Kidshealth.com.
According to investigators, Krueger — whose online resumé lists her as a customer service representative — repeatedly inflicted a condition known as Cyanosis, or “blue spells,” on her infant son in 2011 by smothering him with a blanket to the point where the baby’s skin turned blue, his eyes rolled up into his head and his little body became stiff.
Cyanosis can be caused by a blood disorder that prevents sufficient oxygen from reaching cells — but it can also be caused by choking or suffocation.
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Ryan Hatfield told a judge that Krueger inflicted the condition on her baby son 16 times “before he could even crawl.” Hatfield said that were it not for the work of Evansville police detectives, Krueger could have killed the child.
Custody of the boy was removed from Krueger and given to the boy’s dad, Kenneth Galloway, who said that the now four-year-old boy is doing much better now.
“We can just move on from this and we can get him where he needs to be,” Galloway told WFIE-TV in Evansville. “He’s a healthy, growing boy now.”
Mikel-An Krueger has no previous criminal record and according to her lawyer, Heather Burton, her support system of family and friends, her cooperation with the police investigation, and the fact that she appears not likely to commit any similar crimes — she is also the mother of a second child who was taken from her custody and placed in foster care on birth — should merit a light sentence.
But Judge Robert Pigman wasn’t buying it. He slapped Mikel-An Krueger with eight years behind bars, plus a year of work release and a year of home detention.
[Image: Mikel-An Kruger LinkedIn Page]