TAMPA (CBS Tampa) – Nineteen-year-old Violet Hinrichs was praying for her sick son to get better.
The hospital alerted Tampa police when they noticed bruising around the child’s neck.
“The child was in the hospital for observations of seizures and apnea. As part of that, he was on a video monitoring system,” Andrea Davis of the Tampa Police Department told WTVT-TV.
Detectives went through the videos and were shocked at what they saw.
“Every time the child had one of these episodes, the suspect in this case was either holding the child or hovering over the child,” Davis added.
According to police, the video showed Hinrichs squeezed her son until he started flailing his arms, turned blue, and became unresponsive.
“She’s always been good with the baby,” Tiffany Coffey, Hinrichs’ sister told WTVT. “I’ve never seen her hit him, yell at him, nothing. So this is kind of overwhelming.”
Coffey added that her sister is disabled. She added that Hinrichs always wanted to be around the baby, and thinks her sister suffers from Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy. Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves.
Police say Hinrichs has admitted to these acts.
“I don’t know why she would do this,” Coffey said. “I don’t understand how any human could do that to a child.”
Hinrichs is charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse. Her son is now in the custody of the Department of Children & Families.
Child protective investigators have been called to Hinrichs’s home prior to this incident.