When Megan Lee Kafer was in the hospital with her ailing 9-month-old son in July, police say, medical staff saw something shocking.
Now, newly-released documents from the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota say she purposefully tried to get her son sick by, among other things, sneaking an over-the-counter laxative into his feeding tube.
And, police say, the woman from Lewiston, Minnesota, has a harrowing internet search history related to the crime.
In July, Kafer, 25, and her son were placed in a room at the Children’s Hospital in St. Paul that was specifically designed for possible cases of child abuse, according to a probable cause statement from the St. Paul Police Department.
Her son, described as “emaciated” in a medical report from the Midwest Children’s Resource Center, had been struggling to gain weight, even with the help of a feeding tube and the staff at the Children’s Hospital, police say.
So, police say, Kafer and her baby were put in room that is recorded by video cameras to catch any possible signs of abuse.
Then medical staff watched as Kafer went into the bathroom — and returned with a syringe, according to the probable cause statement. Kafer is accused of putting a substance in the syringe in her son’s feeding tube while she covered him with a blanket.
After watching the video, Eric Skog, a sergeant with the St. Paul Police Department who was at the hospital, went into the room and had medical staff take the 9-month-old boy away from his mom, the probable cause document says.
Skog stopped Kafer — whose “entire body began shaking” — from grabbing the syringe and took her into custody, police say.
Police say the laxative MiraLax was found in the syringe after it was tested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. But Kafer, who had two open packages of MiraLax in her purse, denied putting anything in the syringe and argued that the laxatives were only for herself, according to the probable cause statement.
It’s not the only case of abuse that the 9-month-old endured from his mother, police say. The Midwest Children’s Resource Center medical report determined that a seizure the child had suffered while at the hospital was likely caused by hyponatremia, according to the probable cause statement.
That condition “occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low,” according to the MayoClinic. It can be caused by a myriad of things, including hormonal changes, medications and drinking too much water.
The medical report concluded that the baby’s hyponatremia was likely caused by too much water — and “that finding was supported by his drastic weight gain on the day of the seizure and his lack of sodium loss from any other source,” according to the police document.
Kafer’s internet search history appears to support that finding, too, police say.
The woman’s phone was recovered through a search warrant, the probable cause statement says, and revealed a slew of unsettling searches such as “how to make a baby really sick,” “MiraLax overdose” and “how to make a baby vomit.”
Other search terms were “too much water symptoms baby” and “salt child death,” police say.
The evidence showed that Kafer had “used medical providers as a weapon to inflict harm” on her baby, the medical report says, and that she had the 9-month-old go through “numerous unnecessary procedures and even surgeries,” according to the police document.
Kafer faces a felony charge of child endangerment, according to The Star Tribune. She was charged last week in Ramsey County District Court.
Jacob Kafer, her husband, pushed back against some of the accusations from police in an interview with the the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He said “everything is moving in the right direction” as his wife gets professional treatment for mental health, the newspaper reported..
“My wife was definitely not in a proper mental state,” he said, the newspaper reported, “but to the extreme that they make it out to be and have laid out in the complaint, its not quite like that.
“We are trying to get the family back together in a way that is safe and healthy for everyone,” he said, according to the Pioneer Press.