A mother in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who allegedly faked her son’s illness through years of abuse, and collected money from fundraisers to pay for his treatment, is set to go to court.
Kasie Keys was arrested in August and charged with child abuse after District Attorney Jack Thorp requested assistance from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
According to an affidavit, Keys gave birth to a healthy boy in 2009. She and her ex-husband, Charles York, shared custody of the boy, but she progressively limited and denied him visitation.
Beginning in 2012, medical issues began plaguing the boy, and he ended up on oxygen and in a wheelchair. He was put on a feeding tube that was later replaced by a total parenteral nutrition or intravenous nutrition. The boy couldn’t eat solid foods, and Keys claimed he could not bear weight on his legs. She claimed the boy suffered from mitochondrial disease.
According to the affidavit, Keys took her son to see several pediatricians over the years, and they were not able to identify causes for the medical issues. Keys told one physician that her son had chronic leg pain and had been diagnosed with development delays and cerebral palsy. The boy was also hospitalized several times for infections, vomiting, and vitamin deficiency.
A Tulsa, Oklahoma, pediatrician was able to wean the boy off the oxygen and almost back to full feedings through the tube while he was under hospital care. However, oncer back home and under Keys’ care, the boy was back on oxygen and could not tolerate tube feedings. According to the affidavit, the same doctor observed the boy standing up and playing. He lay back down and apologized for being up.
At least two doctors said the mother asked for unnecessary procedures. They said they saw no reason the child should be in a wheelchair, and observed that he was able to walk when asked to do so. Doctors could not find respiratory problems the mother claimed he had. A specialist who completed a review of the boy’s medical records concluded he received invasive procedures based on symptoms described by his mother, rather than testing.
Physicians ultimately concluded Keys was physically abusing the child through Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, according to court documents. He was never diagnosed with a terminal illness, as his mother had said.
Because there was a substantial risk of death, the boy was removed from his mother’s custody and hospitalized at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. The father got full custody of his son, and since then, the boy is no long dependent on a feeding tube or a wheelchair.
A warrant was issued for Keys’ arrest, and she was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center. According to online court reports, Keys bonded out and is set to appear in front of a judge later in November.