Attempted Murder Trial Starts for Mother Accused of Lying About Son’s Illness

Attempted Murder Trial Starts for Mother Accused of Lying About Son’s Illness September 25, 2018
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A trial starts this week for a woman accused of medically abusing her son. Danita Tutt, of Cleburne, Texas, is accused of making her son sick and lying to others that her son was dying. Her son, Colby, was removed from the home in May 2016 by Child Protective Services. When CPS removed him, he weighed 51 pounds, a central line, colostomy bag, and feeding tube. The child received a ton of media coverage, including a visit from a wrestling superstar. Following an investigation, a grand jury indicted her on charges of attempted murder in January 2017. The trial is expected to last 2-3 weeks.

Over the course of Colby’s life, Danita took him to numerous doctors. She convinced doctors her child had numerous illnesses. As a result, Colby went through numerous surgeries. Doctors even placed an unneeded central line. The line got infected, and the child endured a life-threatening blood infection.

Last spring Danita told her friends and family that Colby was dying. She set up a G0FundMe account. The community rallied around the family. Colby was granted several wishes. One of the wishes included meeting WWE wrestler Eric Rowan. The WWE also arranged for a private limo to take the child and family to the event.

As the child reportedly got iller, Danita transferred his care to a palliative/hospice group to manage his pain and quality of life. A doctor prescribed numerous medications to control his pain. They even suggested a gastric tube to help him with his feeding difficulties.

By May 6th, 2016, a report was made to Child Protective Services after Tutt removed her son from the Ronald McDonald House. Colby had been receiving palliative care at the Ronald McDonald House since April 21st. Tutt decided to discharge him from the program without approval by doctors or staff.

Tutt appeared to discharge her son after the staff at the hospital and Ronald McDonald House decided to observe Coby without his parents present. For 30 hours hospice workers observed and worked with the child. They told authorities the child expressed interest and a desire to eat. A worker provided him a bean and cheese burrito, a piece of cake, and drank 20 ounces of sweet tea. According to the hospice staff, he tolerated all of the food.

Following this event, they reported the suspected abuse to Child Protective Services. Colby was removed from his mother’s custody within hours of the report.

According to reports obtained by the Star-Telegram Gazette, the CPS report indicated staff believed the mother was attention seeking for her child’s illness. They thought that she liked attention for having two medically fragile children. The individuals filing the report were concerned the mother would end Colby’s life prematurely. They also expressed concerns for the safety of Colby’s younger sibling.

During the investigation, medical staff told CPS and police they feared the mother would kill her child. They said she asked for medicine to make her son “not wake up” more than one time.

As authorities continued their investigation, hospice workers divulged that the didn’t believe Colby had any pain. Tutts insisted the child experienced pain. However, staff says his vitals and behavior did not match her accounts of pain. When staff asked Colby about his pain, he consistently deferred questions to his mother. However, a staff member did get Colby to admit at one point that he experienced no pain.

Additionally, the investigation uncovered that Tutts visited a funeral home. She told people Colby’s death was imminent. Tutt said hospice workers told her to prepare for the end of his life. Last spring, she and her husband picked out a headstone and burial plot for her child.

When Colby was removed from his mother’s care, he had a colostomy bag, central line, feeding tube, and weighed 51 pounds. CPS placed him in the home of his maternal grandmother. Within months of his removal, he gained 10 pounds. Doctors removed his colostomy bag and central line.

When policed asked Colby’s Gastroenterologist, Dr. Bankol Osuntokun, if it was common for a child to improve so dramatically in such a short period. Osuntokum told them he only sees this type of improvement when the mother has Munchausen’s by proxy. Also, he admitted to police that he relied 100% on the medical history provided by Tutt’s.

Munchausen’s by proxy is a mental illness where a caretaker fabricates symptoms in a child. According to Kid’s Health, “The adult deliberately misleads others (particularly medical professionals) and may go as far as to cause symptoms in the child through poisoning, medication, or even suffocation. In most cases (85%), the mother is responsible for causing the illness or symptoms.”

Other doctors of Colby interviewed by police Dr. John Uffman, said that it appears the mother withheld food and water to make the child sick. Uffman emailed several of Colby’s specialists to get their take on his medical condition. None of the doctor’s treating Colby felt he was dying. In fact, a gastroenterologist Dr. Jane Kregg said she orders palliative care for Colby to keep him out of the hospital. She said she specifically told Tutts that Colby was not dying.

Despite what doctors told Tutts, she told family and friends that Colby’s end of life was near. She set up a GoFundMe and profited from the information she provided to others.

Following a summers lengthy investigation, police arrested Tutts in August of 2016. In January 2017 a Grand Jury formally charged Tutts with attempted murder of her son. According to a Facebook page, We Support the Tutts 100%; a jury has been selected in her case. An update on the page says the trial starts today. They stated the trial is expected to run for two weeks.

For Tutt’s part, she denies all accusations of harming her child. Since her indictment in 2017, CPS dropped their parental termination case against Tutts. In the agreement, Tutt’s gave custody of the children to her mother. She has unlimited visitation with her children. However, she must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Her husband can see the children unsupervised at any time.

As the details of the trial unfold, we will try our best to update. For now, Danita Tutt’s fate is in the hands of 12 jurors. Her charge carries a sentence of life in prison.

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