Mother's alleged abuse hard to prosecute

Jan. 26, 2009 at 1:31 PM

DALLAS, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Prosecutors allege a Texas mother with Munchausen syndrome by proxy may not be charged with child abuse because of jurisdictional difficulties.

Susan Hyde's parental rights were permanently terminated by a court months ago but she may never be criminally charged with abusing her three daughters, now 8, 6 and 4, The Dallas Morning News reported Monday.

Hyde, 31, took her daughters to emergency rooms in three Texas counties more than 150 times in four years to have them treated for cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, headaches and seizures, the News reported.

The Texas Board of Health stripped Hyde of her paramedic certification after doctors alleged she suffers from Munchausen, in which people exaggerate or create false symptoms of illness in others.

Prosecutors in three Texas counties say it would be difficult to prove a pattern of child abuse because Hyde's daughters saw numerous doctors in Texas, Nebraska and Iowa, with each new doctor accepting Hyde's claim the girls suffered from a variety of illnesses, the News reported.

"Our laws are not written to prosecute cases such as these," said Alana Minton, a prosecutor in Tarrant County. Hyde declined to be interview, the News reported.

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