Leslie Wilfred: The Munchausen Mom

by Alexis O.

Managing Editor

In late 2007, the Wilfred family met at the funeral home to mourn the death of Leslie Wilfred’s stillborn twins. She was believed to have carried the twins to term, but suddenly disappeared for days, claiming she was in the hospital. Leslie had called her family from a hospital in Georgia, stating that the twins had died. The community was very sad for the family and offered them many luxuries to help lessen the pain. Leslie proceeded to tell her husband that she had had the twins cremated and wanted to return home to host the funeral. At the funeral, Leslie elaborated with urns and with letters from the children’s point of view that she had created herself. An ultrasound depicted the twins, each of which elicited comments saying how much the twins resembled their parents. Little did everyone know that they had not actually been stillborn, but that Leslie had fabricated the whole story, including the pregnancy; she is not alone, for many others have fabricated stories like these. The condition Wilfred was suffering from is a serious danger for any minor who may have parents or guardians suffering from this.

The ultrasounds were fake, and Leslie completely fooled everyone. The entire extent of Leslie’s pregnancy had been a lie. “I think it is crazy to think that someone could carry out such an elaborate lie for such a long time. I cannot even imagine doing so,” says senior Tyler Raridon.  Leslie was later diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Munchausen syndrome is when the person causes harm to himself or herself in order to gain attention and/or sympathy, and Munchausen syndrome by proxy is when a caregiver causes harm to his or her child (or children in his or her care) to gain attention. Both of these are medical diseases and can be very serious. “Munchausen syndrome is really sad; the victim of the disease does not think they are doing anything wrong. It’s almost like a compulsion,” says senior Maura Greene.

When later investigated, Leslie was accused of not only faking her pregnancy but also harming her other children that she had from a previous marriage. Wilfred claimed that her son was plagued with a virus that constantly made him throw up, and she then sought to have his gallbladder removed. Her son never actually was sick; Leslie just was drawn to the attention that she got along with it. Leslie went to countless doctors and finally found the one who would remove her son’s gallbladder. Senior Kelsey Crouch says, “I hate that her son had to go through all of these procedures against his own will and for absolutely no reason. It’s scary to think that a parent has that much power because some parents are obviously unfit.” Wilfred took the fabrications a step further when she claimed that her daughter had leukemia. Leslie set up fundraisers to raise treatment money for all of her daughter’s treatments. Everyone in her community provided the family with funds and mMunchausen AOeals and support, though her daughter was actually not sick with cancer.

Leslie’s husband also had an older son, and he was rarely seen in the community. He never went to church with the family and was home-schooled. When Child Protective Services visited the house, they were alarmed at what the older son shared with them. He told them that Leslie was never pregnant and that her children did not actually have medical ailments. Child Protective Services then went through medical files and were completely dumbfounded. Leslie had had her tubes tied years ago, making it impossible for her to have been pregnant just months ago. The number of doctors’ visits for her son was alarming, and most doctors told Leslie that nothing was wrong with him. There were absolutely no medical records for her daughter, meaning that she did not suffer from the life-threatening leukemia. Everything Leslie had said to the public was false, and she was charged with severe child abuse.

As charges were pressed, Leslie still did not believe she had done a thing wrong. She never thought she put her children in harm’s way. This is just the thought process of someone who has the medical ailment of Munchausen. It is a true illness that not only affects the person but the people around them as well. With this being said, Leslie Wilfred’s children were no longer safe in her care and can never again be in her care.

In all, this story cannot be taken lightly, and if anyone possibly has a guardian like this, the consequences can be severe. This is a rare disorder, but the prevalence of it can in some cases can be fatal and can tear a seemingly perfect family apart.

Comments

  1. I think its disgusting what those poor kids are subjected to, for the sake of the mothers attention. Poor little garnett whom was murdered due to his mother lacey loading his little body with salt, and documenting it on Facebook all for the need to get attention. Very sad.

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