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.

82 comments:

The Mama Monkey said...

Disgusting. Makes you wonder why her kids were all born premature...she very well may have controlled that as well.

Hope she "enjoys" her time in prison.

momof3boys said...

I am horrifeid. Hopefully she will get the help she needs and will never be allowed around those sweet babies agin!

Melissa.M.Loss said...

That makes me so sad. Look at that beautiful little girl she is harming to gain attention to her self.I can not even believe they let her out on bond!!She needs to be locked up and never heard from again.

Anonymous said...

does anybody know how little dakota is doing now? i used to read this blog all the time!

Dani said...

Dakota is recovering and expected to make a full recovery according to the Drs.
Also this happened several weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! I had read her other blog 'Dakota's 225 days in the NICU' (nicutimes@blogspot.com) I had been wondering why it had been taken down. She was studying to be a nurse and planned to work in a NICU! I am in shock.

JoAnna said...

Apparently this woman used to be quite the breastfeeding Nazi on LiveJournal... she'd take other moms to task for using formula. Her hypocrisy is astounding.

Breanna said...

OMG that is the saddest thing, that poor little girl.

im so glad that her kids were taken away from her. that is horrible!

Shannon said...

This one is so heartbreaking. It's the first time I've been truly upset by a blog....

Basically, because I feel like I sat as a spectator to child abuse. She posted so many pictures of Dakota, that made my heart ache.

I always sensed her "Holier Than Thou" attitude, but chalked it up to stress/personality in writing etc...

Gibson Twins said...

What the hell is wrong with her? That poor little girl! Heard she's out of jail now though....not sure if correct. I didn't read article, I can't.

kay said...

Absolutely sickening.

Michelle said...

I have been thinking about this a lot in the past few months. I'm not Christian myself, but somehow came across Kelly's Korner one day. It was when Harper was still in the ICU. I just remember following that blog and seeing all the "Pray For (insert baby here)" buttons on her blog and others.

I was so sad about all these poor, sick babies and all their hurting families. But then I started wondering if all the attention, support and gifts they receive might have an unintended effect on other women who might not be "right in the head".

I am sure there are more cases like this than we know. And there are probably others by people like Beccah Beushausen, who exaggerate or make up stories about their kids. It's just awful.

(by the way, I'm in no way saying Kelly or any of her fellow blogger friends are guilty of anything...I'm just saying those are the blogs I first started reading! I love Kelly: she's one of my favorites.)

Semi-anonymous said...

wow this is shocking :(

Anonymous said...

By the way, it fecal matter was not put into the child's feeding tube. Emily put feces into Dakota's central line. Big difference. It really is a miracle the girl did not die.

DownWiththeTrolls said...

The reports we received stated it was put in her feeding tube, but there are others that use both (CV line and feeding tube) in the same article. Is there a chance that they are somehow connected?

We have been told her trial is set for July 9, and that Dakota is doing very well and recovering nicely.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this blog for over a year, and am sickened.

To answer your question: at the time Dakota was reciving TPN--IV nutrition--so basically the central line could have been considered her "feeding tube." But it was actually the central line (and IV in her chest/neck/groin)that she was contaminating.

BUT, the reason Dakota was in the hospital in the first place was because she wasn't tolerating feedings (through her actual stomach feeding tube) at home. She had been "sick" for weeks and had constant bloating and loose stools. I makes me think that she was putting feces in her feeding tube at home to begin with, and that's what caused all the problems. Then when Dakota was in the hospital and they weren't using her actual feeding tube, her mom started contaminating her central line instead. Just speculation though.

Anonymous said...

p.s. please continue to update this case, I would love to hear how her case turns out. And also if you have updates on poor Dakota.

Twinmommy2boys said...

I too followed Emily's blog for a year or more. I was very upset by this and would like to be updated on what happens to Emily and Dakota.

Tellie said...

I was following this blog for a couple of months and was surprised when it was suddenly unavailable. I still have access to the RSS feed so I can still see the entries she made on the blog. I am glad the Dakota is finally doing well though.

Ex-victim said...

I'm not going to leave my name for fear Emily's clan still stands up for her.

I knew her from her Livejournal days. She was a "crunchy mom" as in she lived like she was a hippie. She advocated breast feeding, natural parenting and living. When my daughter was six months old, I had to stop breast feeding due to a medical reason and asked a mom/parenting community for advice and support.

Emily trolled my journal under a couple of socks for almost a year. She said I was "slowly poisoning" my daughter, and the baby would be better off living with a foster family.

A month later, she went on vacation while Dakota was having surgery.

Looking back, all of that was very ironic.

Anonymous said...

To Down With Trolls:

Dakota had a central venous line in for venous nutrition as she was unable to tolerate feeds through her feeding tube (for whatever reason) hence the confusion of 'feeding tube.' She was receiving feeds through her veins, which ultimately means that feces was going directly into her bloodstream and is, in fact, potentially fatal that way.

Shannon said...

Her court date has been moved to July 20th.

MCDONALD EMILY BETH 07/20/09
D-1-DC-09-203039 13:30 390 TH UDS INJURY CHILD/ELDERLY/DISABLE W/INT SBI/MENTAL

I'm guessing the charge is Injury to a child with intent of significant bodily harm.

Then, I guess she'll enter a plea of some kind of psychiatric disorder and be sentenced to a mental hospital.

It's too bad she can't go straight to jail, if there's video proof etc...

I hope there are news stories of the court date. And, any kind of update on Dakota.

Heather said...

Poor little princess and the rest of the family. Mom needs some help.

Anonymous said...

I am so beyond horrified that this woman is allowed to even HAVE children. UnBELIEVABLE!!! How AWFUL AND DISGUSTING to treat an innocent child that way!!!!! What an AWFUL HUMAN BEING this woman is.

anti - ethnocentric said...

So...as someone who did once know her, I'd like to know. Her trial was July 9, right? What happened with that? I can't Google anything up, and you'd think someone would have reported something.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been following the Mckmama blog stuff? Over on another site they found out that she has a tax lien, her house is in foreclosure and her husband has been arrested twice in the last year for domestic abuse. I wouldn't care it is her life but she's using her little boy to try to get hits on her blog and make money and faking her life like it's something it's not.

That makes her troll to me!

Anonymous said...

Emily's case has been moved now to August 17.

Here's a link.

http://www.co.travis.tx.us/courts/files/dockets/dockets_criminal.asp

Click on criminal settings by defendant and you can find her name.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a certain Jennifer MckScam-a-lot to me....

hummingbird said...

This just makes me sick.

As someone whose idiot X husband tried to call MSbP as a reason to get out of paying childsupport (didnt stick but cost me thousands to refute) it disturbs me that there really are people who really do this.

People who make their children ill - on purpose.

In my research to defend myself I learned that it is not uncommon for parents who commit MsbP to work in the medical field, especially in nursing. It gives them access to medical knowledge.

Prayers to the little ones who will have a long recovery ahead of them physically and emotionally from this.

Anonymous said...

Her trial has now been moved to August 21, according to the Travis County Criminal Court Docket. God, they can get those trials pushed back for what seems like forever. I wonder what she has been up to for the past 2 months? If you go to her YouTube or other accounts, you can see she's logged in (as recently as a week ago on YT), but she didn't delete the comment that calls her a "fucking freak>"

DownWiththeTrolls said...

Her trial date has been changed to September 21.

Shannon said...

WTF? I would really love to know what's going on with this court case & why she's not going to jail.

I'm also surprised the local media let this one slide. I guess it's a bigger town...

Thank you for the follow up.

Shannon said...

From August 24th, 2009

TRAVIS COUNTY

Mother indicted in feces case

A Travis County grand jury has indicted Emily Beth McDonald, a 23-year-old mother of three arrested in June after police said she was caught on camera smearing feces on her 3-year-old daughter's intravenous line.

The grand jury returned an indictment late Monday on a single count of injury to a child, the same charge on which McDonald had been arrested. The indictment states that McDonald did "intentionally and knowingly cause serious bodily injury" to her hospitalized daughter by contaminating her medical device with feces May 31. The first-degree felony is punishable by up to life in prison.

McDonald's lawyer, Bob Phillips, said he is not surprised by the indictment.

"This young woman loves her husband and children very much and they love her," he said. "We look forward for the opportunity to present her side of the story at the proper time."

Anonymous said...

As of 9-18-09,Travis County Criminal Court Records say that Emily's new court date is 9-24-09, 390th DESG, 9 am.

Anonymous said...

court date is now 9-24-09

Anonymous said...

New court date is now 9-24-09

Anonymous said...

new court date 3rd november??

Anonymous said...

Court date got moved again??? Anyone know whats going on????

Michelle said...

Any updates???

Anonymous said...

court date now 11/30/09

Anonymous said...

MCDONALD EMILY
D-1-DC-09-203039
11/30/09 09:00
390TH PTR
INJURY CHILD SBI/MENTAL

i wonder if the trail has been pushed back to build a case for insanity.

Dakota is doing very well and was recently seen playing and running... she's a normal child for the first time in her life.

Anonymous said...

The court date was supposedly today. Why does the Austin news not have anything on it?
www.twitter.com/gertiesays

Anonymous said...

Still waiting to hear something on this!!!! Grr getting impatient!!!!

Anonymous said...

New date is 1/8/10.

Anonymous said...

Court date is now 1/8/2010. Crazy.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I just noticed something when looking at that heartbreaking picture of Dakota. Did the monster..I mean mother...put make-up on the little girl? Looks like she's wearing eye shaddow and lipstick. I know it's nothing compared to the horrendous and life threatening things she did to her child, but still. Did she think that the girl was her living barbie doll or something?! Like, doesn't matter if a leg pops off, just put it back on and continue playing dress-up. She almost fatally injures her kid, and takes pictures for the world to see how sick her baby is, but first just a touch-up with make-up to make everything perfect for her psycho blog. I hope someone makes this B***** their personal barbie doll in prison, and plays dress-up and worse with her.

Anonymous said...

Any news yet on the results of the trial???

Anonymous said...

Emily went to court yesterday asking for visitation with the kids. nervy

Anonymous said...

Seriously?!?? HOW DARE SHE EVEN ASK. This whole case makes me so furious that I just want to scream. I hpoe she NEVER gets to even see a picture of her kids again. *Blood boiling*

Anonymous said...

Thanks to whoever is updating us. I keep wondering what is going on. Did she get visitations? Anyone know how the kids are doing? I bet she will end up getting off on reason of mental illness. Makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

The court date on whether she can have visitation is set for January 26. I want to know when her actual criminal trial will be.

Anonymous said...

I hate that this trial keeps dragging out, but I'm glad that it's a US-trial. We just had a case here in Norway where a couple were prosecuted for abusing their 1-year old regularly from the time she was born and up until they cracked her scull. The father got 3 years in prison and the mother got 2. Minus the probation periode they will most likely be out in 18 months. This is a VERY typical outcome for the Norwegian legal system.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh! I can't beleive that the Norway court systems don't see a problem with that!

Anonymous said...

What was the verdict on the visitation case? I can't find it anywhere!

Anonymous said...

Court date now March 19, 2010.

What the heck? Are we going for the anniversary of her being caught now?

Anonymous said...

No record of results of request for visitation - generally indicates the request was not honored, though it does not mean it was denied either.

Court date is now April 20.

The father really believes this will all blow over and he and his family will be back together soon.
He seems to want the kids to be around the mother, as if there was no risk.

Best thing for the kids would be to find that mommy is gone forever.
If the father will not keep the kids safe from the mother, then she should not be free for any reason.

Anonymous said...

April 20th, 2010 Still no news on outcome of visitation requests or other. Does it seriously usually take this long to bring a monster like this to any kind of justice?

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear what happened at the court date?

Anonymous said...

I was coming here with the updated court date (which has been posted) and to find out about the visitation hearing... anyone know what happened?

Or an update on Dakota's health?

Anonymous said...

Now moved to May 9th - looks like they're aiming for the 1st anniversary of her arrest.

Anonymous said...

New court date is May 7,2010. How many years does it take to get this tried?

Anonymous said...

Dakota's doing well. New court date is 5/7/10.

Shannon said...

The judge denied her request for visitation...thank the Lord. It appears she's in jail now? I thought she was out on bail.

They expect her trial in October???

Not the swiftest of justice for poor Dakota down in Texas.

Anonymous said...

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/judge-denies-child-visitation-request-by-mother-accused-676914.html

Anonymous said...

Denied visitation: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/judge-denies-child-visitation-request-by-mother-accused-676914.html

Anonymous said...

Emily had a hearing on Friday. She was denied visitation. Here is the article.

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/news/local/judge-denies-mother-visitation-rights-to-kids-20100507-ktbcw

Apparently a trial may happen in October. No word on Dakota's health.

Michelle said...

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/news/local/judge-denies-mother-visitation-rights-to-kids-20100507-ktbcw

Anonymous said...

http://www.590klbj.com/News/Story.aspx?id=1227525

No visitation. But she still hasn't gone to trial for what she did to Dakota (and don't give me this "allegedly" crap - she was caught on tape and admitted it!).

Seriously, what the hell! Are they hoping D will come to court walking on her own so they can say, "See! No harm no foul - she's FINE!"

Anonymous said...

New court date - 7/1/10

Anonymous said...

She was found with another child: http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/2010/07/26/prosecutor_mom_accused_of_pois.html

Anonymous said...

July 26, 2010
Prosecutor: Mom accused of poisoning daughter with feces found with a child
Emily Beth McDonald, the woman accused of smearing feces on a catheter leading to her daughter’s bloodstream, was found by a child welfare official last week with a child, a violation of her pretrial release, according to prosecutors.

A hearing has been scheduled Friday on a prosecutor’s request that state District Judge Julie Kocurek revoke McDonald’s bond before trial.

McDonald, 24, who could face a life sentence for injury to a child, is free on a personal recognizance bond. As a condition of the bond, Kocurek has ordered McDonald not to have contact with children.

During a May hearing McDonald’s lawyers unsuccessfully requested that Kocurek allow her supervised visitation with her children, who at the time were 4, 5 and 7.

It was her 4-year-old daughter that McDonald is accused of injuring on April 15, 2009, at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

According to a motion filed by prosecutor Jackie Wood, a Child Protective Services worker made an unannounced visit to McDonald’s parents’ home in Manor on Tuesday and found McDonald with an approximately 3-year-old child at her side.

In an interview, Wood said she did not know the identity of the child with McDonald.

“The defendant placed her hand on the child’s head and stated, ‘Now that you are awake, I have to go upstairs,’ and left the room,” the motion stated.

Wood argued in the motion that McDonald’s actions and the nature of the accusations against her “indicate she is a great danger to children.”

“The defendant’s flagrant disregard for the court’s order further illustrate this danger,” Wood wrote.

The 4-year-old girl was admitted to Dell Children’s Medical Center on April 15, 2009, with a high fever and “a long history of chronic diarrhea,” according to an arrest affidavit. Blood tests came back positive for bacteria commonly found in feces.

Hospital officials set up a hidden camera in the girl’s room after she continued to have setbacks in her recovery and after they had to replace her intravenous lines several times because of infections or clots in the lines, the affidavit said.

On May 31, hospital staff reviewed the tape and saw McDonald smearing feces on cap to her central venous line, the affidavit said.

A central venous line is a catheter inserted into a patient’s chest or neck into a vein or directly into the heart. It allows the quick insertion of medication or fluids and allows monitoring cardiovascular measurements.

McDonald told police that she had smeared feces on her daughter’s central ventricular line cap five times during her daughter’s six-week hospital stay, the affidavit said.

At the time of the May hearing, McDonald’s lawyer Bob Phillips said her two youngest children are living with her husband, who is their father, and the oldest child is living with her own father.

Phillips, who could not be immediately reached, called her a “troubled young woman” who “needs treatment and counseling.”

Anonymous said...

July 26, 2010
Prosecutor: Mom accused of poisoning daughter with feces found with a child
Emily Beth McDonald, the woman accused of smearing feces on a catheter leading to her daughter’s bloodstream, was found by a child welfare official last week with a child, a violation of her pretrial release, according to prosecutors.

A hearing has been scheduled Friday on a prosecutor’s request that state District Judge Julie Kocurek revoke McDonald’s bond before trial.

McDonald, 24, who could face a life sentence for injury to a child, is free on a personal recognizance bond. As a condition of the bond, Kocurek has ordered McDonald not to have contact with children.

During a May hearing McDonald’s lawyers unsuccessfully requested that Kocurek allow her supervised visitation with her children, who at the time were 4, 5 and 7.

It was her 4-year-old daughter that McDonald is accused of injuring on April 15, 2009, at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

According to a motion filed by prosecutor Jackie Wood, a Child Protective Services worker made an unannounced visit to McDonald’s parents’ home in Manor on Tuesday and found McDonald with an approximately 3-year-old child at her side.

In an interview, Wood said she did not know the identity of the child with McDonald.

“The defendant placed her hand on the child’s head and stated, ‘Now that you are awake, I have to go upstairs,’ and left the room,” the motion stated.

Wood argued in the motion that McDonald’s actions and the nature of the accusations against her “indicate she is a great danger to children.”

“The defendant’s flagrant disregard for the court’s order further illustrate this danger,” Wood wrote.

The 4-year-old girl was admitted to Dell Children’s Medical Center on April 15, 2009, with a high fever and “a long history of chronic diarrhea,” according to an arrest affidavit. Blood tests came back positive for bacteria commonly found in feces.

Hospital officials set up a hidden camera in the girl’s room after she continued to have setbacks in her recovery and after they had to replace her intravenous lines several times because of infections or clots in the lines, the affidavit said.

On May 31, hospital staff reviewed the tape and saw McDonald smearing feces on cap to her central venous line, the affidavit said.

A central venous line is a catheter inserted into a patient’s chest or neck into a vein or directly into the heart. It allows the quick insertion of medication or fluids and allows monitoring cardiovascular measurements.

McDonald told police that she had smeared feces on her daughter’s central ventricular line cap five times during her daughter’s six-week hospital stay, the affidavit said.

At the time of the May hearing, McDonald’s lawyer Bob Phillips said her two youngest children are living with her husband, who is their father, and the oldest child is living with her own father.

Phillips, who could not be immediately reached, called her a “troubled young woman” who “needs treatment and counseling.”

Anonymous said...

July 26, 2010
Prosecutor: Mom accused of poisoning daughter with feces found with a child
Emily Beth McDonald, the woman accused of smearing feces on a catheter leading to her daughter’s bloodstream, was found by a child welfare official last week with a child, a violation of her pretrial release, according to prosecutors.

A hearing has been scheduled Friday on a prosecutor’s request that state District Judge Julie Kocurek revoke McDonald’s bond before trial.

McDonald, 24, who could face a life sentence for injury to a child, is free on a personal recognizance bond. As a condition of the bond, Kocurek has ordered McDonald not to have contact with children.

During a May hearing McDonald’s lawyers unsuccessfully requested that Kocurek allow her supervised visitation with her children, who at the time were 4, 5 and 7.

It was her 4-year-old daughter that McDonald is accused of injuring on April 15, 2009, at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

According to a motion filed by prosecutor Jackie Wood, a Child Protective Services worker made an unannounced visit to McDonald’s parents’ home in Manor on Tuesday and found McDonald with an approximately 3-year-old child at her side.

In an interview, Wood said she did not know the identity of the child with McDonald.

“The defendant placed her hand on the child’s head and stated, ‘Now that you are awake, I have to go upstairs,’ and left the room,” the motion stated.

Wood argued in the motion that McDonald’s actions and the nature of the accusations against her “indicate she is a great danger to children.”

“The defendant’s flagrant disregard for the court’s order further illustrate this danger,” Wood wrote.

The 4-year-old girl was admitted to Dell Children’s Medical Center on April 15, 2009, with a high fever and “a long history of chronic diarrhea,” according to an arrest affidavit. Blood tests came back positive for bacteria commonly found in feces.

Hospital officials set up a hidden camera in the girl’s room after she continued to have setbacks in her recovery and after they had to replace her intravenous lines several times because of infections or clots in the lines, the affidavit said.

On May 31, hospital staff reviewed the tape and saw McDonald smearing feces on cap to her central venous line, the affidavit said.

A central venous line is a catheter inserted into a patient’s chest or neck into a vein or directly into the heart. It allows the quick insertion of medication or fluids and allows monitoring cardiovascular measurements.

McDonald told police that she had smeared feces on her daughter’s central ventricular line cap five times during her daughter’s six-week hospital stay, the affidavit said.

At the time of the May hearing, McDonald’s lawyer Bob Phillips said her two youngest children are living with her husband, who is their father, and the oldest child is living with her own father.

Phillips, who could not be immediately reached, called her a “troubled young woman” who “needs treatment and counseling.”

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened? Did she finally go to court? I cant seem to find anything online.

Anonymous said...

Her new court date is 8/3/10, but she was recently caught with an unknown 3 yr old, which is a violation of her pre trail bond. Friday, July 30th, I think is her new hearing to decide if her bond should be revoked. Here is the link to the Austin American Statesman.
http://www.statesman.com/news/local/mom-accused-of-poisoning-daughter-is-in-trouble-824776.html?cxtype=ynews_rss

Anonymous said...

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/mom-accused-of-poisoning-daughter-is-in-trouble-824776.html

Anonymous said...

She doesn't have visitation, but I'm wondering if she is allowed to call or send letters to them? Just curious.
I can't believe it's taking this long to bring her to justice. Hopefully they are just building a strong case.

Anonymous said...

Emily violated her "no contact with children" order by having contact with her neice. She has been sent back to jail, the court date has been moved. A preliminary trial is being held in October.

Anonymous said...

Emily is now back in jail for violating her probation.

here's a link http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/child_abuse/

otherwise google emily mcdonald trial.

i.can.only.imagine said...

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/child_abuse/


She violated her Bond.

Michelle said...

Any new updates on this story? The last court date has since passed. Anyone have any new info?

mizzle said...

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/feces-mom-back-in-court