Father fights for custody of child after his ex wife’s arrest for subjecting their son to more than 13 unnecessary surgeries

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Dallas resident Ryan Crawford is seeking custody of his son Christopher, after police arrested his child’s mother, his ex wife, on charges of injury to a child.

Prosecutors say ‘injury’ is an understatement:

Over the course of his eight-year life, they say Christopher’s mother Kaylene Bowen is responsible for 13 invasive, possibly unnecessary, surgeries conducted on Christopher during over 300 stays in the hospital.

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Christopher’s mother said she truly believed something to be wrong with her son, bringing him to the hospital for invasive procedures he didn’t need over and over again.

She would claim Christopher suffered from cancer or a genetic disorder, and even reportedly attempted to place him on the lung transplant list.

Child Protective Services (CPS) ultimately removed him and his two other sibling from Kaylene’s custody, and they are currently in foster care, according to WBIR.

Investigators say they believe Kaylene Bowen’s case is one of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which doctors describe as a mental illness, where a caregiver makes up an ailment in order to gain attention or sympathy; often, the caregiver will cause the symptoms of a disorder, bringing even more harm to the afflicted person, commonly a child or someone who is elderly.

“They often frequent many emergency rooms over a wide geographic area. One doctor may never know that medical procedures or diagnostic tests have already been performed elsewhere, so it happens again and again and again.” Dr. Marc Feldman, an expert on the disorder, said in an interview. “These mothers tend to be master deceivers and liars. They’re very skilled at what they do.”

Kaylene reportedly evidenced Munchausen behavior since Christopher’s birth:

Records show Crawford tried to tell the judge there is nothing wrong with his son during custody hearings when the couple split, but, like the common practice in Texas family court, the judge sided with Christopher’s mother and placed him in her custody.

He even offered medical records to prove his claims in 2014, but he said the judge refused to examine the contents.

“It makes me feel as if the system wants to believe the mother all the time in situations, when the father is there fighting,” Crawford said in an interview.

Concerned medical staff at Children’s Hospital in Dallas reportedly alerted CPS to Christopher’s case; Bowen transferred her son there from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, but refused to provide Christopher’s records so more testing would need to be done.

When Bowen wouldn’t wean her son off his medication and medical equipment, staff in Dallas said they checked with Houston and contacted CPS.

Since being removed from Bowen’s household, Christopher is said to be doing much better.

“He looked as if nothing had ever happened to him,” Crawford said after visiting his son. “He’s a blessing. God has watched over him.”

Crawford said he will continue to fight for custody of his son:

“I need my son in my life. And my son needs me in [his] life.”

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