Father Of Boy Who Had 13 Alleged Unneeded Surgeries In Suspected Abuse Case Speaks Out

DALLAS (CBS News) — A Dallas mother accused of faking her eight-year-old son’s multiple illnesses is in jail Friday morning. A report obtained by the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram revealed Christopher Bowen has had more than 300 doctor visits and endured 13 major surgeries in his short life.

The boy’s mother, Kaylene Bowen-Wright, is charged with injury to a child, reports CBS News’ Omar Villafranca. She is accused of pretending her son was sick with multiple illnesses, including cancer. Child Protective Services found the boy had a feeding tube, used oxygen, and took seizure medication – and it all may have been for nothing.

Christopher’s father Ryan Crawford says he has been trying to get custody of his son for the past three years, but his mother claimed her son was on his death bed each time they were in court.

“As soon as she would get on the stand to testify each and every time….She would just start crying, basically saying he’s in a coma,” Crawford said.

A local news report covered a fundraiser in 2014 for Christopher to help pay for his alleged fight against a lung disease. Over the past few years, at least two other fundraisers were created for Christopher online.

kaylenebowenwright.jpg

“I figured that one day that that would be the end cause,” Crawford said of whether he thought she may one day kill him.

Child Protective Services says for eight years Bowen-Wright put her son through a series of medical tests and surgeries, but staff at Dallas Children’s Medical Center began to suspect Christopher wasn’t really sick after a visit last month. They called CPS.

An affidavit from the agency suggests doctor’s believed Bowen-Wright may suffer from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness where a caregiver fakes or creates an individual’s symptoms for sympathy or attention.

“The fundraising, the doctor shopping. Those are certainly common elements of our cases,” said Matthew Gilbert, the regional director of investigations for CPS.  “These investigations are very rare. They don’t come up very often.”

The 8-year-old and his siblings are in foster care. Christopher’s father says his son now appears to be physically healthy.

“I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to be there to stop the harm that has been done unto you,” Crawford said.

CPS says people with Munchausen usually go to several different medical providers to avoid being caught. Christopher’s father will be in court next week to try and get custody. CBS News reached out to Bowen-Wright’s attorney, but has not heard back.