Sunday, June 14, 2009

The McDonald Five

Last weekend another blogger also made headline news for her distressing story about her very real child.

23-year-old Emily McDonald of Austin was arrested for injury to a child - her daughter, Dakota. Dakota has been in and out of the hospital since her premature birth three years ago. McDonald blogged several times a week (and sometimes several times a day) about her three children, but mostly about her youngest daughter's roller coaster ride of ongoing health problems on her blog, The McDonald Five.

McDonald also wrote an article about her experiences with her two younger children's prematurity.

When Dakota did not recover while in the hospital and blood cultures showed odd results, staff became suspicious and set up a camera in the little girl's hospital room. On video they caught McDonald putting fecal matter into little Dakota's feeding tube, which is life-threatening and can cause sepsis.

According to police, "one reason she offered to us as an explanation is that it would keep her daughter sick to gain attention." We have had Munchausen by Internet described on here before, but McDonald's appears to be Munchausen by Proxy FOR Internet.

McDonald has not been diagnosed with Munchausen by Proxy, but did admit to putting feces in Dakota's tube five times during the six-week hospital stay. She has been released on bond and is not allowed contact with her three children.

A few links:

Cops: Mom put feces in tot's IV

Mom Taints Child's Feeding Tube with Feces

Recent posts from McDonald's blog

KXAN Excerpts from McDonald Five blog

Thank you to J for the heads up on this.

An apology from Beushausen

Beccah Beushausen has posted an apology here. It additionally offers a list of reasons/excuses, but also inconsistencies, such as stating she has not been online, or reading blogs/message boards. This is untrue. She has been to this site many times, and she has used one of her pseudonyms to comment on at least one other site as late as Tuesday.

Knowing that there are at least two falsehoods (and we have received emails suggesting a handful of others), please read with a grain of salt.

There is no comment on the help she is receiving, but she is home and no longer at a psychiatric facility. Beushausen is young, the same age as Gina Fiorentino, and our hope is that she gets the help she needs now and sets herself up for a life that she (and family and friends) can be proud of.

EDIT: Welcome to our readers from The Gibson Twins! Brianne did such a wonderful job of web sleuthing and outting this story, and we're happy to be associated with her in all this.

We have had some emails regarding Beccah closing comments and people still wanting to contact her. You can email her here at her personal email address.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Calling out mistakes

According to a post on the Chicago Tribune article, the NASW wants everyone to know Beushausen is not a social worker. Apparently they're not happy having her name attached to their profession. Wonder why?

I would like to point out that Beccah Beushausen, the woman identified in your article in today's Chicago Tribune "Bloggers Baby was a Hoax" is NOT a social worker. She is not licensed in the State of Illinois as a social worker and is not a member of the National Association of Social Workers. We would appreciate if this was noted as a correction in your paper.

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, CAE - Executive Director
NASW IL Chapter
404 S. Wells St. 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607

Other errors by the journalist have been called out continuously in the over 500 comments, but no corrections yet. Unfortunately, other media sources are pulling straight from the Trib article, so misinformation on this story has been spread widely.

We have been tipped off that Beccah will be posting her "last post apology" here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Article on Beccah Beushausen

For woman who blogged about fake pregnancy, 'one lie led to another'

CHICAGO, Jun 11, 2009 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) -- The unmarried mother's story about giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb hit a major nerve on the Internet.

Every night for the past two months, thousands of pro-life moms across the nation logged on to a blog run by the suburban Chicago woman who identified herself only as "B" or "April's Mom." People said they prayed that God would save her pregnancy. They e-mailed her photos of their children dressed in pink, bought campaign T-shirts, shared tales of personal heartache and redemption, and sent letters and gifts to an Oak Lawn P.O. Box in support.

Click link to continue reading....

Interesting tidbits from the article: Beushausen is a social worker. The article also claims "There's no evidence that Beushausen benefited financially in any significant way, or committed any crime." The keyword in that sentence being "significant," which is subjective.

If Beushausen is to be believed, the blog started as a case of classic Munchausen by Internet, but turned into a money hoax. Since she was an avid follower of other better-known bloggers whose children are ill and she spent substantial time driving readers to her site, one can only wonder which was truly the driving force - the money she saw bloggers making or the attention they were receiving?

Word on the street that is not included in the article is that Beushausen is now in a long-term mental facility seeking help.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

April Rose update

Unlike Friends of Pepe, Beccah Beushausen's April Rose blog appears to be a money scam, and a big one. Two pseudonyms are peppered all over the web by InHISTightGrip and mamarebekaah, requesting people to visit the site, which drives up page views and advertiser click thrus. At nearly a million visitors, that's a lot of loose change.

In addition to making money on this scam, and fooling hundreds of thousands of readers, this troll also took advantage of the non-profit group Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep by allowing one of their photographers to do a "maternity session."

If you are looking for posts, you can read the blog here.

Thank you to everyone for sending us information on this. We're getting it faster than we can verify and get it online. There are several sites that have already done a great job gathering information so for all the details, please visit the ones we listed below, as well as The Gibson Twins blog.

April Rose

We have had a handful of emails about a popular blogger, Beccah Beushausen, a 26-year-old woman from Lockport, Illinois, who faked being pregnant with a very ill baby (trisomy 13 and Holoprosencephaly), and then posted pictures of one very realistic-looking "reborn" doll as the miracle baby, "April Rose". She took donations and had advertisements as well.

Beccah is the owner of "See Through Me Studios", and has taught children at an art studio in New Lenox, IL in the past.

If you donated money to this person, please contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Lockport Illinois Police.

The following are links sent to us about her story. Please feel free to add any others in our comments section.

Thank you to everyone who sent us emails about this story.