Nobody Should Believe Me S02

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SEASON 02 | EPISODE 10

Everything Everything Everything

In the finale of Season 2, we finally hear from the person at the center of our story: Alyssa Waybourn. Despite the immense challenges she has faced, Alyssa shines as a beacon of intelligence, strength, and resilience. Her story is a testament to the capacity of the human spirit to overcome even the darkest of circumstances.

During a visit to Fort Worth, we meet Alyssa: a smart, happy, athletic teenager who is starting her new after-school job later that day. Alyssa has found solace and normalcy after enduring so much at such a young age. Her determination to move forward and create a brighter future is truly inspiring.

Alyssa shares her memories of the abuse she endured, the experience of testifying against her biological mother, and the profound impact it had on her life. Despite the pain, she remains steadfast in her commitment to fight for those who are voiceless, even testifying before the Texas State Legislature in support of a bill that bears her name.

Alyssa opens up about her hopes and dreams for the future, revealing the strength and resilience she has found in her family. We also get an update on Brittany as Andrea shares some final thoughts for the season.

Listen on: Apple | Spotify

Show Notes

Host Andrea Dunlop:

https://www.andreadunlop.net

For behind-the-scenes photos:
https://www.instagram.com/andreadunlop/ 

Support the show and get exclusive bonus content:
https://patreon.com/NobodyShouldBelieveMe

For information and resources:
https://www.munchausensupport.com

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s MBP Practice Guidelines can be downloaded here.

More about Dr. Marc Feldman:
https://munchausen.com

Transcript

Andrea: [00:00:00] Nobody should believe me is a production of large media. That’s l a r j media. Before we begin a quick warning that in this show we discuss child abuse and this content may be difficult for some listeners. If you or anyone you know is a victim or survivor of medical child abuse, please go to munchhausen support.com to connect with professionals who can help

people believe their eyes. That’s something that actually is so central to this whole issue and to people that experience this, is that we do believe the people that we love when they’re telling us something. I’m Andrea Dunlop, and this is, nobody Should Believe me.

We’ve talked a lot about Alyssa Waburn this season, and now I want you to meet her.

Aylssa Waybourn: Hello, this Aylssa. Hi. Oh,

Chatter: can I give you a hug? So [00:01:00] nice to meet you.

Hi, Laura. So nice to meet. Meet you. Nice to meet you too.

Nice to meet you.

Andrea: She and her mom, Laura, met up with us during a trip to Fort Worth. Interviewing a teenager was definitely something new for me, but Alyssa made it really easy.

She instantly lit up the room with just all of this cheerful energy.

Yes.

I was really honored that the way Burns had put enough trust in me to talk to their daughter. It’s hard enough to talk about traumatic things you’ve been through when you’re an adult, but for a kid it’s just a huge ask. And so I brought a little gift with me to break this.

And then Alyssa, your mom told me that you like to doodle,

so I brought these for you.

Aylssa Waybourn: These are nice pens.

Andrea: I’m glad you like them. Those are cool. Are they like gel pens?

Aylssa Waybourn: Yes. Like they’re felt belt Nice. Like on the top, but they also look like gel. Nice. Cool.

Andrea: We were here to talk about some really difficult things, but it was also important to me to just get a sense of who Alyssa [00:02:00] is now, and that is a bright, resilient young woman who was starting her very first job later that day.

Aylssa Waybourn: My older brothers, Caleb and Lucas, they work at Cici’s and I’m going to work today.

Andrea: You’re going to work today?

Aylssa Waybourn: Yeah.

Andrea: Oh, okay. Is this your first, first day at the first job?

Aylssa Waybourn: Yeah.

Andrea: Okay. What do they do at Cici’s?

Aylssa Waybourn: It’s a pizza and like salad bar sort of thing. Okay. There’s sometimes salad.

Andrea: What are you gonna be doing at Cici’s?

Aylssa Waybourn: Um, I could be busing and I could be a washing dishes. Okay. I could be doing one of those, but I really enjoy cooking. I wanna

cook.

Andrea: Do you think you wanna do that maybe as a career,

be a chef?

Aylssa Waybourn: Maybe, I mean, I, it’s, it’s come up. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially whenever I was little and I was cooking with my Gram and I would

just be like, Hey Graham, we should make a restaurant called Graham’s Bakery or something like that.

Mm-hmm. And [00:03:00] I would like make up a pretend restaurant thing in the living room of her house and she would like be the customer. And she would walk by and I would be like, Hey, would you like some banana muffins?

Andrea: This moment is really sweet. Alyssa is laughing and this is clearly a really happy memory. And it’s also poignant because as we remember from this case, Alyssa was being starved by Brittany, and here she is fantasizing about feeding other people.

It really reminds me also just this sort of ordinary story with her grandmother that all of these people who intervened didn’t just save her life, they gave her back her childhood. Alyssa is now a happy, healthy teenager who has lots of interests and friends. She enjoys singing and she also enjoys playing basketball.

Aylssa Waybourn: I’ve been playing an A like the actual sport team basketball since I was in second grade. And yeah, it’s just been fun and it’s easier like. To [00:04:00] reconnect. I guess sometimes like in whenever we found out I could do basketball, then we just did it. It was so fun. And then I just made new friends and a whole team of friends and more than a team, actually, because their friends had friends.

Andrea: And then Like a whole new community?

Aylssa Waybourn: Yes. Basically. Yeah.

Yeah, but it’s just like, I guess for some people, sports are a way to connect, and that’s one of my ways too.

Andrea: I asked Alyssa what she wants people to know about her.

Aylssa Waybourn: I guess the one thing I would want people to know is that you can overcome anything.

I mean, it’s been tough because I. Everything, everything, everything. I guess it’s just like hard to think about, like, what should you do with your life? And sometimes, and sometimes it’s just hard to feel the right feeling sometimes, you know? Mm-hmm. [00:05:00] And sometimes you don’t know what to do, what is right or what is wrong, and it’s just hard and, and you can overcome those feelings and you can overcome anything.

You can also. Overcome what people think of you or any of that, because it doesn’t matter what they think they, it matters what you think.

Andrea: That’s really good advice for everyone, I think. What are some of the things that have helped you overcome what you’ve been through? Because you are really an inspiration and so I’d love to know kind of what are some of those things that’s helped you be the way that you are and, and has helped you move forward?

Aylssa Waybourn: I think that one of the, the things it would be, Like all the boys, everyone with my dad, with my brothers, with my classmates, with everyone. It’s just hard to figure out how’s the best ways to work with them, I guess. And that’s also how I also learned to work with people better. Like it’s best to learn how they work, how they think, and then put that plan into action [00:06:00] to make it work.

I guess another thing. Would be me standing out for like myself, me watching, like me being independent. I guess sometimes it’s just, sometimes I think I’m right and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not. And it’s hard because sometimes I’m not, and whenever I’m not, I get very frustrated and. Then I just realized that like my parents or anyone, anyone in my family just can help me or they know what’s right so they know what I can do or whatever.

Andrea: Alyssa’s healthy now, but this abuse left some permanent scar, and we talked about that too.

Aylssa Waybourn: People always think that I’m like way younger than I am because of how Brittany, she didn’t nurture me properly and like. Didn’t gimme enough food and stuff like that, so I didn’t grow [00:07:00] right, and I wasn’t tall or average height.

But then whenever I started to actually reach, going into like first grade or any kind of school, I would not be called out on, but I would just be like, everyone would ask me, how old are you? How tall are you? What’s your name? And stuff like that. They would always just be like, are you super smart? Or something like that.

Andrea: Oh, did they think you were skipping grades?

Aylssa Waybourn: Yeah. Yeah. I was like, Okay. No, no, but it’s just size. It doesn’t matter what size you are, and it’s just hard for me to overcome that sometimes. Most of the time I just try to ignore it. Sometimes I can’t, and

sometimes it’s just hard to, and I just try to put it aside and I don’t know, it’s just the way people are and like some people will ask, why are you so sure?

Or something like that. And I’m like, Mm. I’ll tell you later. [00:08:00] Oh, something like that. And it’s just awkward sometimes, especially if like, I’m in a whole crowd. I’m like, uh, Leave me alone, please. What my family says all the time is if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

Andrea: That’s a really good policy.

You and your mom seem so close. I can just watching the two of you together, I’m like, this is the relationship that I want with my daughter

Aylssa Waybourn: Sometimes, sometimes.

Andrea: Alyssa is so happy and sweet and sitting with her. It could be really easy to forget about these terrible things that happened to her when she was really little. I wondered how much of any of it she remembered.

Aylssa Waybourn: I still remember sometimes, like sometimes vividly, sometimes my parents just told me. And I was like, oh yeah, I kind of remember that.

Or something like that. But I guess like sometimes I try to just push them [00:09:00] away cuz some of them are just dark, I don’t know, just dark memories I guess.

Andrea: What are some of the things that have helped you sort of process that? I’m just kind of curious to know like how that Yeah, like how, how you kind of reconcile those things.

Aylssa Waybourn: Like sometimes I would just be like asking God, why did he do this to me? Why did he. Like pick me. And sometimes I would think I’m the only one that ever went through it. And then my mom would be like, no, you’re not. There are plenty who have done that. I’ve not done that. Um, been through it and it’s just hard to think that other people have been through it.

And I just hope that no one else has to go through it. It’s just. Tremendously

terrible.

Andrea: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you said that actually, because that’s something that everyone we’ve talked to has said to us that they felt like they were the only one. And for me, I, you know, I’m coming at it from a different vantage point.

In my case, it’s my sister, but I felt like I was the only person. [00:10:00] That had ever, you know, it’s, it’s not a, a lot of people have big bad things that happened to them. Right. And a lot of people go through trauma, but at least if you’re going through a kind of trauma that people can relate to and that they have some kind of context for, you don’t have to sort of explain the whole thing.

I always have found that really hard, right? That people don’t have a framework. Right. If you have someone in your family dies of cancer or they, you know, get in a car accident mm-hmm. It’s, those are horrible. Traumatic things, but if you tell just someone that you just met about that they’re gonna understand what you’re talking about.

And with this, I feel like people just are in sort of such disbelief and it can make you feel really lonely. Mm-hmm. And really isolated, right?

Aylssa Waybourn: Mm-hmm. The thing is, I try not to isolate myself because like, it’s just, I don’t know. I just like to talk to people about other things than that. Sometimes I’ll just like, they’ll ask me, so you’re adopted, right?

Or something like that. And I would say, oh yeah, [00:11:00] I was adopted, but I mean, I have eight brothers. Okay, so. Don’t mess with me

Andrea: even as a teenager, Alyssa is a force to be reckoned with and she’s working to help other kids who’ve gone through what she’s gone through. She told us about a recent trip to the Texas State legislature.

Aylssa Waybourn: We were there to like make a law so that all the people who went. Through stuff like me or like you or any of that.

The parents or whoever was lying would have to go to jail. And I was excited at the time so that it would happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. And no one, no one. I, I know, I know people understands it, but people sometimes just don’t, they can’t, they don’t realize that it’s. Wrong, and it happens. So yeah, like [00:12:00] I would try to tell everyone that I knew about it.

I would just be like, oh yeah, I’m making a law. Vote for it, or something like that. Yeah. Vote for it on the campaign. Yeah.

Yeah. Um, but I would just be like, I’m making law, just please know that this is real. This happens. And I would be like, Asking them to pray for me or something like that. And they would, and I’m glad that like it’s gotten through here and we’ve went to the court two times already and they haven’t done anything about it.

So I hope that third time maybe.

Andrea: What did you tell those lawmakers when you were in front of

Aylssa Waybourn: them? I told them. What my, like what my story was and what my case was. And then I would sit down and like what my name and any of that. Then my mom or dad would speak, and then it was just [00:13:00] like the first time my mom would ask questions and whenever my mom asked questions, I would answer them and try to answer them, right.

But then the second time I did it on all by myself and I was about to cry because I prepared my speech and. And then like I was looking down and, and then at it, and I felt like I was like, I should have been looking at the people and then it’s all crazy. I was also emotional because of all that.

Andrea: We actually have a clip of Alyssa making that speech in front of the Texas State legislature.

I think it’s so important and it’s so brave that Alyssa is willing to be a public face of this abuse. One of the struggles in moving this issue forward is that the offenders in these cases often look like very sympathetic, crying mothers, but people need to understand who is really getting hurt in these situations.

They need to see.

Texas Law Maker: The victims. If you could state [00:14:00] your name.

Aylssa Waybourn: Okay. My name is Alyssa Webern, and I’m for this law.

Texas Law Maker: And you represent yourself? Yes.

Aylssa Waybourn: Okay. Health isn’t something you can lie about to anyone. Why should we support abuse? We shouldn’t. It’s. Something that we shouldn’t support. Alyssa’s Law will make it where if a parent is found lying about the child’s health, then they will be prosecuted.

I know what it’s like to be lied about my health. I could have died, but I’m not looking about what my past was. I’m looking about my future of this law. Brittany, my biological mother abused me for three years and we’re trying to make this law where kids, children won’t have to be abused for years. I remember being told to act like I was sick or un unhealthy, and then my doctor, he realized whenever Brittany wasn’t in the [00:15:00] room, I would be fine.

I wanna act bad or sick. And why shouldn’t we save people? Why shouldn’t we save kids? This law will make it where we can

save kids.

Andrea: The lawmakers in the courthouse were clearly impressed and moved by Alyssa’s testimony.

Texas Law Maker: You did a very fine job testifying. You’re so courageous and speaking up for all those who have been what you have been through.

I hope this is the last time that you have to come back up here to testify, because I hope we can get this across the finish line. I want you to know that your future is so bright. Thank you. Uh, I have no doubt that if you want to, you, you would have a seat up here one day. So your future is, is only limited by yourself.

And I see that you have no limitations. Uh, thank you. So thank you so much for being here to share your real experiences because you’re helping so many people that don’t have a voice.

Andrea: Alyssa’s mother, Laura [00:16:00] Weyburn also testified that day and she was understandably choked up hearing her daughter talk.

Laura Waybourn: Well, that was amazing. Yes.

So proud of that little girl. I’m Laura Weyburn. I am Alyssa’s mother. Sometimes I have to say adoptive, but I am her mother. I am for the bill. I was a CPS investigator years and years ago. Before I was a mother, I worked. Laura went on to give very moving testimony about her experience, both as a mother and someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of cps.

Andrea: I wanted to share an update about this bill this spring. Alyssa’s bill finally made it out of committee on its third try only two. Barry Disappointingly die on the floor of the State House, but no one is giving up. In addition to the

Webers and Mike Weber, some other familiar voices from season one have testified in support of the bill, including George Honeycutt and Doug Welch.

Her support of this bill however, was not the only time that Alyssa has testified in court.

Aylssa Waybourn: I also went to court [00:17:00] to put Brittany in jail. And I remember it pretty vividly about how, like I didn’t really remember her. I didn’t really know her whenever she was sitting there. I didn’t even know that was her.

I was happy that I didn’t know that, but I was also, I was seven at the time and I was like trembling in my seat and I was like right in the box up there all alone and the judge was asking me questions and I was like, Yep, that happened. I remember that. And my parents weren’t allowed to be in there, so one of my teachers that was my favorite teacher in the world, she went there and some of my other family members did too.

And whenever I came out I was like so shook. And then my parents went in and like a few minutes later and I was just like, Wait, I did that. Wow. I’m amazing.[00:18:00]

We all agree. Yes. You are amazing. Thank you. You are amazing. You are too. Oh, thank you. You’re so sweet.

Andrea: As we discussed on a previous episode, Brittany took a plea deal and she went to prison for five years. She served every day of that five year sentence. She had been released by the time we did this interview, and I wondered if Alyssa had had any contact with her since she’d been out.

Aylssa Waybourn: I used to whenever I was little and I had to see her like every Sunday or Saturday or something like that.

And one day I was like, I don’t wanna do it anymore. Stop. I don’t wanna do it. And I was very little and my parents were like, I know, I know. So I had to see her. And then I also had to see Chris Brittany’s. Boyfriend. And I remember my dad was like very cautious around him because Chris, he, [00:19:00] he said he was gonna pick me up and be my dad, but he never did.

He never came, he never did anything to help me. And it’s just hard to think that he lied and he said that he would sign the thing for me to get adopted, and he never did that. So we literally had to get it signed by the judge and. Yeah, it was just very stressful sometimes. And I remember this one time where me and my

mom called him and we had an rv, so we went out to the RV so that we wouldn’t get him interrupted.

And we called him and I was like, I don’t wanna talk to him. Talk to him for me please. Because I didn’t wanna. I don’t know. I, I, I just felt sometimes just a little bit scared of him, I guess.

Andrea: Well, you didn’t really have a relationship with him at all. Yeah, right. Except like

Aylssa Waybourn: we would once a month or so, I don’t know, like once a year we would see each other, something like [00:20:00] that and go to a mall or, I don’t know.

It’s, we didn’t have a relationship. I just, I just don’t, didn’t want to, I guess, even though I was little, I was just like, No. Yeah, yeah,

yeah.

Andrea: Again, I think you had your instincts were your instincts were on point there, I think. Yeah. And when you look kind of to the future, like is there any point at which you think you would want to ask Brittany questions?

Or are you kind of, is that sort of a closed book in your mind? Like how do you, how do you feel about that? Well,

Aylssa Waybourn: I mean, we think that the only reason she did it was for selfishness and to get attention and stuff like that. So if she didn’t, if she did, what was she gonna say?

Andrea: Up until now, Laura Wayburn had not chimed in, and I was impressed as a fellow mom that she had been able to let Alyssa speak for herself despite how protective she must have been feeling.

But in this moment, she did chime, [00:21:00] chime in to remind Alyssa of something that happened.

Laura Waybourn: I remember it. One of your visits, you asked her why she did it. You don’t remember that? Mm-hmm. You were, I think you were four. You asked her.

Aylssa Waybourn: Wow, I don’t remember that.

Laura Waybourn: And she just said she just kind of denied it. You were really mad.

Aylssa Waybourn: I would’ve been, that sounds like me. That sounds like me. Wow.

Laura Waybourn: You said something like, why did you do that to me? And she said something like, I wrote it down a long time ago. I don’t know exactly, but she said something like, what? Or I didn’t for, she acted, you know, she just kind of blew it off. But the person that was watching your visit was right there and heard the whole thing.

Aylssa Waybourn: I did not know that. It sounds like something you would do though, doesn’t it? It does. It really does.

Laura Waybourn: Yeah. It’s a big spirit for four year olds. Yeah. Yeah. That’s amazing. In your mind, you’re like, you’re good. You don’t need to have any more conversations with her.

Aylssa Waybourn: I mean, if she’s gonna deny it. No, [00:22:00] no. Yeah.

I. I would just do a closed book, I guess.

Andrea: Did she ever take any accountability or apologize to you or, I mean, obviously she took a plea deal, but I know that’s not the same thing as taking responsibility.

Aylssa Waybourn: I’m pretty, didn’t she say something like in the courtroom

Laura Waybourn: when she took the plea and that was all finishing and she had to go in front of the judge and.

The judge was doing all the things that the judge does. The judge lifted her and said, are you pleading guilty because you are guilty? And he may have said the rest of what I’m about to say, but the reason he said it was this, I’m not sure if he said it, but he had to have her say, She’s pleading guilty because she is guilty, and she said, yes, I heard her say it.

I was there, and that’s all that I know of, that she ever took responsibility.

Aylssa Waybourn: Okay. But that was, well, I mean, it’s a closed case. I mean, it’s like an open, closed [00:23:00] book case. Where she did something wrong. Everyone knows it. She has to say it and admit it. I mean, if she’s not gonna take, like be held accountable, let herself be held accountable and say that she did it, and we all know that she did.

I mean, what’s the point? I mean, yeah.

Andrea: It’s like how do you move, how do you move forward

Aylssa Waybourn: from that? We, yeah. We all know that she did it and that she’s lying. And or she’s not being held accountable or trying not to be held accountable. And I guess what I would say would be, don’t let that get to you. She, she lies, or she, I’m trying to find the words.

She is bad person, I guess, and even if she is your sister. You can turn your back on her, I guess, and say, I can’t [00:24:00] be friends or I can’t help you anymore. I can’t do anything for you. Cuz you can’t.

Andrea: Yeah. I mean, thank you. You, um, and I think, you know, that’s something that, you know, I think a lot of survivors struggle with, especially if they were really close to their mom all through their life and then they are having to reconcile, figuring out what.

Their mom had been doing their whole life and sort of struggle with like, well, they’re my, this person, my mom, or this person, my family member. Like I have to have a relationship with them. And I think, you know, and people, you don’t have to.

Aylssa Waybourn: Yeah, you don’t. I didn’t have to, oh, anything to Brittany. I mean, she did something bad to me.

And if someone does something bad to you, then you shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions. You shouldn’t. Live with regret. You shouldn’t do anything to put yourself on hold or any of that because you didn’t do anything wrong. And it’s, it’s just terrible how people [00:25:00] think that sometimes, I mean, not terrible.

It’s just like hard to believe that people think that it’s their fault.

Andrea: Yeah. It’s choices and I think that’s something I always want people to understand is that it’s a conscious choice. Mm-hmm. They make, you know,

someone like Brittany makes a choice. And a series of choices. And that’s what’s laid out in the evidence, right?

It’s not a sort of moment of delusion or, you know, it’s it’s not, yeah, it’s

Aylssa Waybourn: not like, it’s not like you have a mental illness or any of that. I mean, whenever I was little or sometimes this thought comes up into my head, what if she had a mental illness or any of that, and I’m like, No, that’s not right. I mean, even if she had a mental illness, she shouldn’t be doing it to her child.

And one possibility I think would be that, like me and my mom, we think that we know that she had like a rough family or a very crazy family, and we know that her [00:26:00] mom, she like. Wasn’t nice to her or something like that. I mean, it could have been her trauma as a kid that brought her to do that. But I mean, even if you have trauma as a kid, it’s not like I’m gonna go and do the same thing to my children.

Exactly. I mean, she, she might have had trauma as a kid. I had trauma as a kid, but that still doesn’t make it right. What you did.

Andrea: Brittany will always be a part of Alyssa’s past, but the abuse she endured does not define Alyssa. And when talking about her current family, the way Burns, it’s clear that just like they felt about her, Alyssa feels like they were meant to be.

Aylssa Waybourn: I actually knew mom and dad before they were my mom and dad. Like we would see them at family events or any of that. And then, then I was already, uh, [00:27:00] warmed up to them and I also knew my older brother Lucas. So, yeah, and I just remember playing with Lucas and coloring with him, and then that was one of the things that brought me into the family, I guess.

Like great sibling rivalry. Just kidding.

But I also take to people very. Fast. And sometimes that’s not a good thing and sometimes it’s is and just, yeah.

But it’s just, I’m glad,

Andrea: I’m glad too. And I think that’s kind of the business of growing up and being human is, and it can take a long time to figure out, you know, who you should trust and, and who you can’t.

Aylssa Waybourn: Mm-hmm.

Yeah. It’s just, you should always be open to people, but you should like always have an open heart. To people, but not if you know that they’re bad. If like you feel that way and you’re just like, I can’t be friends with you and you don’t tell [00:28:00] them that then it could get bad or any of that, but it’s just hard to find out, I guess, who and who isn’t.

Right? And yeah, that makes sense.

Andrea: It’s like open heart, but also trust your instincts, right? Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Aylssa Waybourn: Mm-hmm. Like survival skill. Yeah, absolutely.

Andrea: Absolutely. And in some ways, like I. Maybe you’re sort of more finely honed because of that. We’ve talked a lot about the waves and how wonderful they are, and like any family, they have their own challenges and Alyssa told us about some of those.

Aylssa Waybourn: Every family has struggles, but the one hard thing is staying like a family. Like whenever someone did something and you get mad at them, it’s hard to forgive them sometimes. But I have that trouble a lot, especially with one of my older siblings, and it’s just very hard to forgive them, especially if they keep on doing it and doing it and doing it.

But [00:29:00] family, you should always forgive. Well try to forgive. It’s just you should try to forgive if it’s worth forgiving. My favorite thing would be how understanding they are. Sometimes they try to understand and like a few months, like a few months ago, I guess I had like, not a mental breakdown, but like why did she do this and all that.

And, um, my mom and dad were like, They just tried to understand and all that stuff because they don’t know what it was, but they do their best to understand because no one knows exactly what happened. Like no one knows exactly what I went through or how I felt through it. So I guess. Unless you’re me. Um, I guess it’s just like they do their best to understand.

Andrea: Most of the time, that’s the best thing people around you can do, right. Is just try and be there for you. Mm-hmm.

Aylssa Waybourn: Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, sometimes it’s hard because like, [00:30:00] uh, sometimes I just push them away or something like that because I wanna be left alone and think about everything. But yeah, it’s hard.

Whenever you don’t feel like anyone’s there for you or like whenever you’re, you just found out or you just got out of the situation, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know where to live, you don’t know anything. And it’s, I guess, hard to find anyone who can relate or try to relate or understand, especially if you’re still living with your family that did it to you.

So I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Andrea: As we were wrapping up the interview, I could see how proud Laura was of Alyssa and she chimed in.

Laura Waybourn: It was very cool to be able to sit next to you with somebody else talking to you and just listen. That was Alyssa. You’re, you’re pretty awesome. I mean, you know,

you are, and it’s

not that I’m,

Andrea: we all agree.

We all agree.

Laura Waybourn: It’s not that I’m [00:31:00] surprised that you’re awesome. It’s just some of your answers were more maturely thought out than I knew that you had thought them out. It was pretty cool, honey. We did this interview with Alyssa over a year ago and she is still doing great. She is 16, she’s learning to drive.

I’ve seen the waves recently when I was down in Texas, actually moderating a panel for this legislation that we talked about and something else big has happened. Last April, we got the news that Brittany Phillips had died of an apparent overdose and obviously I wanted to update you on that and just talk.

Talk about how that landed on all of us. I was standing in my kitchen when I got the text message from Mike telling me about Britney’s death, and my immediate feeling was relief. I knew that the Waybourns and Mike, and certainly for myself, I felt this way too, that we were [00:32:00] all worried about the day when Alyssa would turn 18.

And Brittany would inevitably try to get back into her life. And as much as Brittany didn’t raise, Alyssa and Alyssa doesn’t have the same attachment to her, that a lot of the survivors that I talked to have to their mothers because they were by and large raised by their mothers. I still have seen adult survivors.

Dealing with how complicated that relationship is. And I didn’t want that for Alyssa. I’ve loved these moments in talking to her in the wave burns where we talk about her genuinely forgetting that the way Burns were not her original parents. And what I would most want for her is what I would most want for any survivor, which is to move forward.

I don’t think there’s a lot of opportunity to really have a healthy relationship with a parent that does this to you, and of course that’s up to. Everybody for their own situation to figure out. But I will never stop worrying about one of these offenders as [00:33:00] long as they’re on this earth. I think that what making this show over the last three years and being really immersed in this topic has brought home for me is how dangerous these women are.

And I was worried about Brittany. Brittany is a couple years younger than me. She was still young enough to have more children. And I think I felt a tremendous sense of relief when I heard about her death because I know she can’t hurt anyone else now. And my second thought was, what a sad waste of a life to spend your life the way that she had.

I have watched adult survivors struggle to try and make sense of why this person did this to them. And I’ve never seen anyone have a satisfying conversation with the parent who abused them, where like they get an answer, they get accountability, where they get any sense of peace out of that. I just don’t think that’s possible.

And honestly, I think the only way it ends is when [00:34:00] that abuser dies. It’s like the only way out. I know that. Alyssa and the way burns, they may have some kind of mixed feelings over that death, but for me, I’m relieved that Alyssa doesn’t have to put additional emotional energy into trying to deal with that person coming back into her life, because I think we all feel pretty sure that that would’ve happened, right?

Like. Brittany, when we looked up her Facebook, her profile picture was a picture that we talked about in this podcast, which is her with Alyssa as a two-year-old wearing leg braces, Brittany was still wrapping her identity around her being a mother of a sick child. That is what that picture tells me. So I think we can be.

Absolutely sure that on Alyssa’s 18th birthday, Brittany was gonna be back trying to get into her life, right? Because that’s the obsession, that’s the compulsion, that’s that huge part of their identity. And so I am glad that that’s not gonna happen. I just want Alyssa to be. Able to go and live her life and if she wants to be an advocate for this like she is now, [00:35:00] if she wants to be a voice on this issue, then that is so wonderful and so appreciated.

And if she decides she doesn’t, that’s great too. I just want her to like have her life and that’s enough. The more that I’ve met people who are going through this, the more that I’m convinced that the perpetrator’s death is the only way that this ends. We did, while we were making the season of the show, we did reach out to Brittany to see if she wanted to talk to us and hadn’t.

Heard anything at the time of her death. But I think it’s really important to say that this is not Britney’s story. This is Alyssa’s story. And with that, I wanna let Alyssa have the final word this season. And. Here she is telling us her advice for her fellow survivors. So would you want those people to know that they’re not alone?

Mm-hmm.

Aylssa Waybourn: I mean, everyone feels alone at some points in their life. Like this person went through a car crash or they in, they don’t know the trauma or. No one knows the trauma and it’s [00:36:00] just very hard to think you’re not alone. Especially whenever you feel all alone, cuz you feel like no one else can relate.

But I’m pretty sure some people can relate. One person at least can relate. Yeah, you just gotta find those people. Mm-hmm. Gotta search the interweb. Search the interweb. Just Google.

Andrea: Nobody should believe me is produced by large media. Our music is by Johnny Nicholson and Joel spac. Special thanks to our lead producer, Tina Noel and our editor Travis Clark.

Listen to Episodes
Sisters
SEASON 01 | EPSIODE 01

Sisters

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SEASON 01 | EPSIODE 02

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SEASON 01 | EPSIODE 03

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Nobody Would Believe Me
Season 01 | Episode 04

Nobody Would Believe Me

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Nobody Would Believe Me (Part Two)
Season 01 | Episode 05

Nobody Would Believe Me (Part Two)

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The Blast Zone
Season 01 | Episode 6

The Blast Zone

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Can They Be Saved?
Season 01 | Episode 07

Can They Be Saved?

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There’s Hope
Season 01 | Episode 08

There’s Hope

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Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 01

Blunt Force Instrument

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 01Blunt Force InstrumentMeet Andrea Dunlop, accomplished novelist and mother, as she embarks on a journey to understand the series of events that tore her family apart. In the first episode, we learn how Andrea first...

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Season 02 | Episode 02

What Do We Do About Brittany?

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 02What Do We Do About Brittany?Heather Harris was one of many friends who was concerned about Brittany’s desperate need for attention for her daughter’s medical issues, and her inconsistent reports about Alyssa’s eating...

Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 03

Where There’s Smoke

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Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 04

All In

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Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 05

Tangled

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 05TangledWe hear more about Alyssa’s turbulent journey to become a Waybourn, as the family fights through a system that doesn’t know how to deal with medical child abuse. The Waybourns face the daunting task of...

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Season 02 | Episode 06

The Trial

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Season 02 | Episode 07

Megan

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Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 08

Only the Beginning

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 08Only the BeginningIn the aftermath of Brittany Philips' conviction, Alyssa faces a daunting new reality: the path to recovery. The long-term physical and psychological effects of Munchausen by Proxy abuse cast a long...

Blunt Force Instrument
Season 02 | Episode 09

Pandora’s Box

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 09Pandora's boxIn this gripping episode, we delve into the heart-wrenching account of Jordyn Hope, another survivor of medical child abuse. Taking a brief departure from Alyssa's story, we shine a spotlight on a far more...

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 01

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)

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Season 03 | Episode 02

Shelter

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 02Shelter As the Maya Kowalski case heads to trial, we dig into the massive trove of documents about this case and begin to unpack what we know about what really happened during Maya Kowalski’s fateful stay at Johns...

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Season 03 | Episode 03

In a Heartbeat

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 03In a HeartbeatIn our third episode, we look at a central piece of the story that was left unfinished at the time of Beata Kowalski’s death: the police investigation into her for medical child abuse. Along with...

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Season 03 | Episode 04

Retaliation

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 04RetaliationNote: This episode contains sensitive content related to child abuse and suicide. Listener discretion is advised. Beata Kowalski’s tragic death by suicide in January of 2016 is at the center of the $220...

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Season 03 | Episode 05

The Women

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 05The WomenIn the flattened version of the Maya Kowalski story that has dominated the headlines, Beata Kowalski is a mother who fell prey to age-old biases against women. This story attaches itself to the well-documented...

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Season 03 | Episode 06

The Believers Part 1

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 06The Believers Part 1In today’s episode, Andrea seeks an outside perspective on the controversial Maya Kowalski case. Laura Richards, host of Crime Analyst and cohost of the Real Crime Profile podcast, joins Andrea to...

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Season 03 | Episode 07

The Believers Part 2

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 07The Believers Part 2As the Kowalski v Johns Hopkins All Childrens trial barrels forward, new information comes to light each day about what really happened to Maya Kowalski during her time in the hospital. In part 2 of...

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Season 03 | Episode 08

Trial of the Century

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 08Trial of the CenturyWith a verdict in the case days away, host Andrea Dunlop unpacks some of what’s happened so far in the Kowalski v Johns Hopkins All Childrens trial with lawyer and trial consultant Jonathan Leach....

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 09

The Verdict

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 09The VerdictAndrea and special guest Bex (aka our Florida pediatrcian friend) process the shocking verdict in the Maya Kowalski trial. After 9 weeks of testimony, the jury awarded the Kowalski family nearly $300 million...

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Season 03 | Episode 10

The Verdict Part 2

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Season 03 | Episode 11

Star Witness

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 11Star WitnessAs we continue to process the far-reaching implications of the shocking verdict in the Kowalski case, we take a closer look at Maya Kowalski’s testimony and what we know about her. She’s emerged as a...

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Season 03 | Episode 12

System Override

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 12System OverrideWith the jury's stunning $242 million verdict in favor of the Kowalski family, host Andrea Dunlop looks at why this case has struck such a nerve on both sides of the political spectrum. She examines why...

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Season 03 | Episode 13

What Now?

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 13What Now?Just when we thought the endless saga of Kowalski v Johns Hopkins All Childrens was over...it turns out it might only be beginning. In this episode, lead attorney for the Johns Hopkins All Childrens defense...

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Season 03 | Episode 14

Media Circus

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 14Media CircusThis week Andrea examines how the harrowing and complex story of the Maya Kowalski case turned into a pop culture moment, and spread dangerous misinformation in the process. We continue our conversation...

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Season 03 | Episode 15

The Trials of Dr. Sally Smith (Season Finale: Part 1)

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 15The Trials of Dr. Sally Smith (Season Finale: Part 1)In an exclusive interview with Dr. Sally Smith, host Andrea Dunlop travels to Florida to speak to the embattled child abuse pediatrician about her life and work and...

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Season 03 | Episode 16

Bad Press (Season Finale: Part 2)

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Season 03 | Episode 17

Dangerous Women (Season Finale: Part 3)

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 17Dangerous Women (Season Finale: Part 3)In the third and final installment of our exclusive interview with Dr. Sally Smith, she shares her side of what happened in the Maya Kowalski case, revealing how perilous Maya’s...

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SEASON 03 | EPISODE 18

What Jack Knew

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 18What Jack KnewAs we prepare to launch Season Four next month, we’re revisiting the subject of Season Three—the landmark Kowalski v. Johns Hopkins All Children’s verdict, in which a jury awarded Jack Kowalski more than...

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Season 03 | Episode 19

What Happened to Beata?

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 19What Happened to Beata?This week's episode delves into the intricate details surrounding Beata Kowalski's death, which was central to the Kowalski's lawsuit against Johns Hopkins All Children's, as well as the...

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Season 03 | Episode 20

Kowalski Case Update with Ethen Shapiro

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 20 Kowalski Case Update with Ethen Shapiro Join Andrea as she delves back into the ongoing legal battle of Kowalski v. Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, with Ethen Shapiro, the lead defense attorney for Johns...

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