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Oklahoma mother found guilty of child molestation after years of faking her son’s illnesses

Last week a jury found an Oklahoma mother guilty of two counts of child molestation after years of faking her son’s illnesses.

The jury returned the verdict on November 17 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Federal prosecutors alleged that Kasie Keys falsely claimed for years that her son, born in 2009, had trouble eating and was terminally ill.

Experts said Keys probably suffered from Proxy Munchausen syndrome, Oklahoma City-based NBC affiliate KFOR reported.

The condition manifests when “a child’s caregiver, most often a mother, either invents false symptoms or creates real symptoms to make it appear as if the child is ill,” according to the National Institutes of Health.

Court documents say that after Keys divorced the boy’s father in 2012, she began telling her son’s doctors that he had trouble eating, using his hands, speaking and checking his bowels.

The boy’s father did not observe these symptoms, but doctors began diagnosing and treating the boy based on his mother’s reports, according to court records. The boy was eventually put on a feeding tube.

Later, the child was fed entirely parenterally, which consists of “liquid nutrients given to the patient intravenously through veins, bypassing the stomach and intestines,” and requiring care from caregivers, the court documents said.

Keys kept the boy on this diet for nearly four years and didn’t add the necessary vitamins and minerals, according to court records. As a result, her son had to be hospitalized for malnutrition and hair loss, among other things.

She also failed to maintain his hygiene, which put him at risk of infection and left him in double diapers filled with urine and feces, prosecutors claimed. This led to his hospitalization for yeast in the blood, urinary tract infections and bacterial infections.

Kasie Keys (Cherokee County Jail, Tahlequah, Oklahoma)

Kasie Keys (Cherokee County Jail, Tahlequah, Oklahoma)

The trial followed an October 2021 grand jury indictment on six counts of child abuse and two counts of child neglect, to which Keys pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

The jury found Keys not guilty on the two child molestation charges — which the indictment alleges she failed to comply with the boy’s diet and hygiene — and declared a mistrial on the other four child molestation charges.

The foreman’s notes filed with the court appear to indicate that the jury had difficulty reaching a verdict and twice asked the judge what to do if they could not reach a unanimous decision.

Child abuse carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment in Oklahoma.

Information about Keys’ conviction was not immediately available.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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