Hospital Officials Alerted Police When A Young Boy’s Illness Seemed Like Intentional Harm

Lacey Spears’ childhood friends back in Alabama were heartbroken when they heard about the death of her 5-year-old son.

5-year-old Garnett Spears, pictured here smiling, died on Jan. 16, 2014.

In small-town upstate New York, Lacey Spears loses her 5-year old son who’s battled a medical condition that has plagued him since birth. Doctors claim his death is not from a natural cause, and investigators soon suspect foul play.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Devil in Suburbia")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Devil in Suburbia")

If her friends knew anything about Lacey Spears, it was that the Decatur, Alabama native loved children and couldn’t wait for the day she would become a mom. In fact, she got a job working in a childcare center as soon as she graduated from high school in 2006.

Her coworker there, Kat Woods, described her as the best possible caregiver for the infants at the center. The women were close, and they split a foot-long sandwich each day while the babies napped.

In spring 2008, Lacey found out she was pregnant. She gave birth to a son, Garnett, that December.

Something Was Wrong

Garnett was hospitalized days after birth, with doctors noting a failure to thrive. He was suffering from an acid reflux issue that required surgery. Eventually, feeding issues caused doctors to place a g-tube, which allowed Lacey to deliver nutrition directly into his stomach. Still, the child seemed medically fragile and was often in the hospital.

When Garnett was three years old, Lacey announced that she was moving to upstate New York where she would live in The Fellowship Community, a multigenerational commune whose primary purpose is to care for elderly residents. Lacey would care for the elderly, and Garnett would grow up living in a close-knit community. At The Fellowship, there was a focus on holistic living and clean eating, something Lacey told her friends in Alabama that could only help Garnett’s issues.

Lacey kept everyone up to date on what was happening in her life via social media. She was meticulous about documenting Garnett’s hospitalizations and medical trials as the little boy grew.

In January 2014, Garnett was once again admitted to the hospital — this time with seizures. Lab work showed that his sodium levels were dangerously high, and doctors were puzzled. Could it be a medicine he was on, or was his body unable to process sodium as it should?

Kat called Lacey when she saw the Facebook post about the hospitalization. Lacey insisted that doctors just didn’t know but were continuing to run tests.

The doctors did, however, install a camera in the room to monitor Garnett’s symptoms.

Medication helped to lower the sodium levels in his blood, and doctors were preparing to discharge the boy since he was acting normally again and clearly on the mend.

Kat watched for Lacey’s Facebook posts and was relieved to see a photo of Garnett sitting up in bed and looking great.

The happiness was short-lived. Kat was horrified when Lacey posted again — Garnett’s symptoms had returned before they could be discharged, and this time they were worse. He declined rapidly, and doctors made the decision to airlift him to another hospital.

There was another post, and then another, and another. He was on life support at the new hospital. A doctor came in to declare him brain dead. Then, the final blow came: Garnett had died.

When hospital officials tried to figure out what went wrong, they discovered something horrific.

Find out what authorities realized as they reviewed the hospital’s footage from inside Garnett’s hospital room on Devil In Suburbia: "Failure to Thrive".

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