Shanna Crowder, 25, of Cusseta, Chambers County, Alabama, United States has been arrested by the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. She was charged with first-degree aggravated child abuse.
Crowder is accused of willfully maltreating her son, 2, by exaggerating, fabricating and/or inducing illness symptoms in the child on multiple occasions. It has yet to be confirmed if her son is a victim of factitious disorder imposed on another (FIDA), also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
In December 2018, Crowder claimed that her daughter, then 3, was abused by Gladys Moore, a daycare worker at the Greater Peace Child Development Center in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama. Crowder signed a warrant with the Opelika Police Department and Moore was arrested.
On January 9, 2019, Judge Wesley McCollum found Moore not guilty of third-degree assault of a child in her care. Moore was represented by attorney Walter Northcutt.
On December 30, 2020, the Chamber’s County Sheriff’s Office received a suspected child abuse. Chambers County investigators conducted an investigation into the child abuse through Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
On September 3, 2021, a Chambers County grand jury indicted Crowder for first-degree aggravated child abuse of her son. On September 8, 2021, she was arrested and booked into the Chambers County Detention Facility in in La Fayette, Chambers County on $60,000.00 bond.
The Munchausen syndrome by proxy was named after Baron von Munchausen, a lead character in German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe‘s 1785 novel “Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia.” The fictional German nobleman is loosely based on Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen, a real baron known for telling outrageous tall tales based on his military career.
The term was coined in 1951 by British physician Richard Asher describing patients whose factitious disorders led them to lie about their own states of health. The cause of the disorder is still unknown.
One of the most controversial cases of Munchausen syndrome by proxy is that of Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard of Missouri, USA. On June 14, 2015, she was stabbed to death by her daughter Gypsy Rose Pitre Blanchard‘s then boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn.
In 2020, Erik Schneider and Kristy Schneider of Arkansas, USA were accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The couple reportedly received nearly $32,000 in cash, gifts and services as she took to social media to publicize their adopted son’s mysterious and debilitating illness for years.
On August 4, 2021, a judge ruled that Kristy will serve four years probation. She pleaded no contest to a charge of first-degree child endangerment and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.