Nobody Should Believe Me S02

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In the wake of obtaining shocking public records about her sister’s case, host Andrea Dunlop decides to divulge the details of the second investigation into her sister, Megan Carter. Seated alongside Detective Mike Webber, Andrea delves into the extensive documentation, and together the two unpack the devastating information about what reportedly happened to her niece. Despite video evidence, a successful separation test, and expert testimony from one of the most well-respected experts in the country, the juvenile court judge who reviewed the case returned custody of Megan’s two children. Andrea remains deeply concerned that her niece and nephew are victims of a flawed system incapable of addressing the horrifying reality of medical child abuse and makes public the evidence against her sister as a last resort to protect them.
During their discussion, Andrea and Mike also examine an irresponsible and misleading article about Megan’s case published by NBC in collaboration with King 5, a local Seattle news outlet. In what has become a distressing pattern in media coverage of medical child abuse cases, this article attacks the doctor who reported the abuse and neglects to mention the evidence that made her do so.

Meanwhile the judge’s order that returned custody of the two children—and on which the media’s reporting appears to have relied—contains shocking mistakes and untruths. Andrea talks to someone close to the case to set the record straight.

The reporting in this episode is based on information in the public record. We have collected the relevant documents at this link.

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Show Notes

Host Andrea Dunlop:

For behind-the-scenes photos: 

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For information and resources:

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

More about Dr. Marc Feldman:


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 to connect with professionals who can help.

If you’d like to support the show, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or join me on Patreon to listen to exclusive bonus content and get all episodes early and ad free. And as of right now, All of season two is available there to binge 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. This episode is going to be a departure from [00:01:00] the Britney Phillips case that we have been discussing all this season. Today I’m gonna tell you a little bit more about my own story.

A year ago I submitted a public records request to the agencies who investigated my sister for medical child abuse of her younger daughter. In response to that request, I received multiple voluminous files and am in fact still receiving files, including police reports, some of my sister’s social media posts.

Nearly two years worth of emails between the investigating detective and various parties, as well as the court order dismissing the state’s dependency petition. I’ve based today’s episode on these documents, and we will share a link to them in today’s show notes because my sister named herself publicly by contacting the media, portraying [00:02:00] herself as a parent who was falsely accused of medical child abuse.

I feel it’s especially important to use her real name today so that you can get a more complete picture of what happened in that case and the risks that children in these cases, like my sister’s face. My sister Megan Carter was originally investigated 12 years ago on suspicions of medically abusing her.

Then one-year-old son. My parents and I felt that those suspicions were warranted for all the reasons that I discussed in season one of this show. I also mentioned in season one that she had been investigated a second time for

possible medical child abuse of her younger daughter. Since season one, I’ve gone much deeper into what is in the public record about that investigation and.

During this period of the last three years of my life, I’ve spent a lot of it talking to experts about this form of abuse and what these patterns look like, including Detective [00:03:00] Mike, who I’m gonna talk to today, including people like Dr. Mark Feldman, Dr. Mary Sanders, b Yorker, all the other amazing.

Experts that we’ve had on this show, and looking at the records that I uncovered, I’m more convinced than ever that the system has utterly failed my niece and nephew. And as I’ve been digging into so many of these cases and hearing stories from survivors, from non-offending parents, like the dads we talked to last season, and a lot of other people that I’ve met since last season came out.

I know now that the system fails most children in this situation, and I feel really strongly that if we don’t bring these failures to light, nothing will ever change. I was obviously very careful about what parts of my sister’s story and my life I talked about in, in season one. I really talked about the things that I was there for, right?

So the pregnancy, the birth of her first child, that first in investigation. [00:04:00] I’ve been out of my sister’s. Life for 12 years now. So, I mean, there’s a huge portion of her life that I have not been a witness to except from a distance since I wrote the book. We came here to forget my novel. I feel like I’ve gone through this experience over and over again of saying like, okay, that’s it.

I’m done talking about this, but. The reality is the situation isn’t over and things continue to happen, and a lot has happened since my sister has been out of my life. Things that we find out about are very distressing, and everything that I have found out about since she has been out of my life has only pushed my fear one way, and that’s to make it worse, I suppose.

I am sensitive about this narrative. That I’m like out to get her, or this is some kind of vendetta that this is just some personal thing that I’m sort of can’t let go. And I mean, what I wish had happened in the interim is that something would’ve happened to change my mind. What I wish is that some new information would come forward to explain all of these events that does [00:05:00] not implicate her, but that’s not what’s happened.

You know what’s happened in the interim is one of the things that we heard about a couple of years after the first investigation, and that again, was the end

of our. Contact with her by her choice was that she posted a picture on Facebook of herself in the hospital holding a baby that had died or was still born.

And this was something that people who were still connected with her on Facebook told us about. And that was obviously really. Distressing at this point, we believed nothing that we didn’t have documentation for. So my, my mom looked that up in the county death records and in fact, that happened. She had a, a son who was born right around 24 weeks, which for those who, who are not as familiar with pregnancy in its weeks as I am having just gone through 2 24 weeks is about the line where a baby can.

Survived outside the woman. In fact, preemies do pretty well, all things considered sort compared to like 10, 20 years ago. But this one, [00:06:00] this one, um, did pass away. There was a death record, so seven months after that, she had another baby. She was also born at 24 weeks. Of course, the timing of all that. Is notable.

This is now the third baby. She’s had premature and sort of gotten increasingly premature. You know, we talked about the prevalence of premature babies in these cases, and as with anything else that we talk about in these cases, gastrointestinal issues, breathing issues, seizure disorders. So none of these things are risk factors in and of themselves, but they are all a huge part of the pattern of these cases.

And I brought in Detective Mike Weber, who is the top law enforcement expert in the nation. He wrote the guidelines on this abuse for the F B I. He is a member of the American Professional Society on the abusive children’s. Munch has him by proxy committee. He’s really the guy to talk to about these investigations.

And we talked through what I’d uncovered in my sister’s case and specifically this thing about premature births. [00:07:00] Can you talk about sort of the way we see that playing into the, these cases

Detective Mike: that’s in Dr. Feldman’s book and Dying to Be Ill where a mother actually admitted. To inducing the premature birth and in I think the first five or six cases I worked, all of them included a premature birth it.

There’s been cases where I’ve had evidence that the premature birth was induced and evidence by. Defendant’s statements.

Andrea: The reason I bring this up is my involvement with the second case against my sister that had to do with her younger daughter, the police detective when they were investigating it, reached out to my father because he had sent an email to the hospital with their concerns.

When a relative saw my niece on. The hospital’s like Featured Child Page, you know, they have those pages that are sort of for fundraising and they talk about the kids that are, that are in the hospital. And so her daughter was listed there with a whole bunch of issues, and again, a family member saw it and, and brought it to our attention [00:08:00] and, and my father emailed the hospital to let them know that.

We had had concerns about her older child and that there had been a previous investigation and we had had concerns about munchhouse and behavior previous to that i e the fake pregnancy that I discussed in season one. So he had let them know. And so I believe that was how the detective probably got in touch with him.

So Mike, one of the things you do when you’re investigating a case is, Get in touch with family members, right? Like collateral interviews are a part of these investigations, so it makes perfect sense that the detective called, called well.

Detective Mike: Correct. And you know, the detective would’ve had access to all CPS records that, uh, you know, if he’s doing his job, which I’m sure he did, the CPS worker would’ve informed him that there’s a previous case also with this claim.

He would’ve gotten that paperwork, he would’ve read it, he would’ve seen y’all’s concerns, and he would’ve contacted y’all, which is exactly what happened. Yeah.

Andrea: So my. Dad, my mother and I had lengthy conversations with Detective Muse over the months that he was working on this case, but these related [00:09:00] to her life before because we didn’t know anything about her daughter really, because we, we hadn’t been there.

I mean, we knew as much as anybody else basically had seen online at that point. This coincided somewhat. This, it happened before my book came out, so I had not been in touch with, but did, the investigation lasted about two years. So at some point also, this was when I was really beginning to meet a lot of experts.

Mm-hmm. Um, such as Mark Feldman, such as Detective Mike, and, you know, really meet with the committee. And so as I met those experts, I of course offered to put them in touch with Detective Muse and Mike, you. Are not at liberty to share what you discussed with him, but you did consult with Detective Muse towards the very tail end of this case.

I wanna be transparent about that. You are not at liberty, obviously to share, um, anything that’s not in the public record already.

Detective Mike: Right. I won’t share what the conversations were. I will say that, uh, he did reach out to me, and I will tell you that that’s pretty rare for a detective to do that. I’ve had.

You know, numerous dads call me [00:10:00] and they’ll, they’ll say There’s open invest. I’m like, we’ll have the detective reach out to me. If they, obviously I cannot reach out to detective, that would go horribly, terribly badly, cuz they’re gonna think that I’m trying to stick my nose into to their case. But I’m, I’m always open to any detective reaching out to me and I will offer any advice that I can as far as where the investigation should go.

Andrea: Okay. So, because there were no charges, Ultimately filed in this case. I was actually really surprised at how much information there is in the public record about this case. Part of that is because my sister went to the media with this story, which we’ll get to, so she shared the family court judge’s decision.

So we have that and they’re also the police reports, which we’ve mentioned are public record. And there’s also an extensive amount of emails between. The police detective, the district attorney, and several of the other people who were working on the investigation. What I have seen in this documentation is really [00:11:00] alarming.

Nothing I have seen in here convinces me that there was nothing to this investigation, and the reason I wanna make it public and the reason that I wanna make my sister’s name public, my sister’s name is Megan Carter is for a few reasons, the biggest being that everything I have seen about this case and also these patterns which we have discussed, has made me feel.

Very afraid. I feel very strongly that the system has failed here, and in talking to both experts and survivors, one of. The only things I feel that I can do, I basically going public as such, and using her name is a kind of last resort. I have tried to talk to the detective. I tried to talk to the district attorney while this was going on.

I tried to put them in touch with the resources that I had by the end of that investigation. That meant some of the best [00:12:00] experts in the country on this topic. I’ve tried to follow up with the. Prosecuting attorney’s office to figure out what happened here. And I’ve been told the same thing again and again and again, which is that they point me back to this family court judge’s order, which is unbelievably flawed.

And we’ll get to that. And one of the only things you can do when you feel you’re in this situation is hope that by bringing light to it, there will be more eyes on that situation and more eyes on that child. And that is what I’ve been told over and over again by experts and I. I, I spoke to some of the survivors that I’m really close with and asked them, if I were your aunt, what would you want me to do?

Does this seem like the right thing? And they said yes. So that is my number one motivation. My secondary strong motivation is that the story ended up in the media. It was covered by N B C in affiliation with the local station, king five here. And that coverage was [00:13:00] irresponsible. It was misleading, and it absolutely dragged through the mud.

The doctor who worked at the hospital who reported my sister, and number one morally, that’s. Repugnant. And number two, stories like this have a chilling effect, I believe, on doctor’s willingness to report abuse. It is a doctor’s job to report suspicions of abuse. And just to be clear, and Mike can talk maybe a little bit about these systems, but a doctor, one doctor’s opinion is not going to get children removed from their parents, right.

Detective Mike: Right. Well, and uh, it’s very important to point out that doctors are not investigators. Doctors’ function is to simply report the abuse. There was Dr. Woods at, at Mary Bridge who reported the abuse. There was another doctor who did medical record review, Dr. Carol Jenny, who literally wrote the book on this abuse.

But they don’t determine guilt or innocence either of them, [00:14:00] of mom. They determine whether there is evidence in the medical record that there could be abuse happening. It is a responsibility of police and c p s to determine CP S’S function is to determine whether the children are safe with the offender.

It is law enforcement’s role to determine whether or not a crime has been committed, and it is then the DA’s office’s role to prosecute that crime. So you have a ton of systems that have to work together and it’s very easy to single out. You know, we, I see this in this, uh, from these offenders quite often in this

abuse is they will pick one person and make them the scapegoat and they will ride on them.

And if. Only not for this person. None of this would’ve happened. It’s very, very familiar to me.

Andrea: The truth that we can see from all this documentation is that it wasn’t one person who was convinced that abuse was happening. It was many people. There were multiple doctors mentioned in the police report in including Dr.

Carol [00:15:00] Jenny, who by the way, is one of the most well-respected child abuse pediatricians. In the country. She is the person doing the medical record review, the CPS investigation, R Tbed her. And just to remind you from our conversations with c p s supervisor, Susan Ryle, RTB means reason to believe. So they came to that conclusion in their investigation.

And then based on that, the state filed for dependency, meaning that they were petitioning to remove the children from that home. And we also know from the judge’s decision that is available to us. That the casa, the court appointed special advocate. This is in some states called a guardian ad litem. This is the person who is charged with representing the child’s interest in court, also supported the state’s dependency case.

There was a two year long police investigation that was referred to the DA for a charging decision. This doesn’t happen unless they feel that there is evidence to charge someone with a crime. What I want to do today [00:16:00] is review the documentation that we do have. And Mike, get a little bit of context from you.

So according to the police report, my niece was brought to the hospital in March of 2018, and that kicked off this series of events that led to the hospital calling the police. So she had been brought in having an infection in her vascular port, which is used to administer medication to. Children that have chronic illnesses so that they don’t have to get constant injections.

That led to a life-threatening diagnosis of sepsis, which is a blood infection that had sent her into organ failure. She was sedated and intubated in the picu, which is the pediatric intensive care Unit for a full five weeks.

Detective Mike: In medical child abuse cases, when there is a port placed in the child, that now gives the offender access to the child’s blood, and that gives the offender the opportunity to put things in [00:17:00] or take things out of the child’s.

For instance, she could put feces in the child to cause a polymicrobial blood infection, multiple organisms in the blood, which would cause sepsis, or she can also take blood out of the child to cause anemia. It opens up a variety of new ways to abuse the child.

Andrea: The doctors, when they were reviewing the medical history of the child at that time, noticed some red flags, including in their words, unnecessary surgeries, unsubstantiated medical treatments, repeated hospitalizations, and doctor slash provider shopping.

Importantly, at the time of this incident, my niece had, in addition to her vascular port, a surgically implanted feeding tube, she had had alleged feeding issues throughout the course of her life and had had various interventions including different types of feeding tubes, and at one point was on what’s called T P N, which is when a child receives nutrition [00:18:00] intravenously.

In May of that year, after this five week stay in the picu, my niece developed a blood clot. She was on an anticoagulant medication because she had been having frequent blood clots and because this medication could be painful to administer, they were allowing my sister to actually administer that medication.

And as I said, because there were previous suspicions, they had placed her in a video surveillance room. My niece had developed a couple of blood clots despite being on this medication. And what the video captured, what they describe in the police report is that my sister. Was administering the medication, looked up to see if the nurse in the room was watching and dumped some of the medication out onto the bed next to her child.

Um, they got two instances of this. Many of the medical staff had seen the video and agreed that this is what it showed. And the police also viewed this video and it’s described in detail. [00:19:00] Mike, I wonder what’s your reaction to that in terms of just the role of video surveillance in these cases?

Detective Mike: Video surveillance is indispensable in these cases if you can get it right.

It different states, different laws, different hospitals probably have different practices from one children’s hospital to the next. It may be completely different policies, but if you can have video surveillance on these cases, it can provide great evidence like. This evidence, right? So we know that she doesn’t want her child to get better because she’s not giving her the medication that is needed.

Andrea: And then we see her dumping this medication and directly after her daughter develops a life-threatening blood clot. And the nurse reported to the police that there was no way she could have developed this blood clot if she was on the dose of drip medication that she was supposed to be getting.

Detective Mike: I don’t know Washington law, um, I do know Texas Law.

If this had happened in Texas and she had developed a [00:20:00] blood clot after mom was seen dumping that medication, then under my state law, that would be a substantial risk of death. So that would be injury to child, serious bodily injury, because there was a substantial risk of death just on that one

Andrea: act alone.

So after this call that I mentioned in May of 2018, the police removed my sister from the hospital and put her daughter under protective custody. So for a while after Megan was separated from her, my niece was in the hospital and during that time, she started to do really well and mentions in the report that she was taken off of her oxygen that she was on and that she was eating without any trouble.

The detective mentions watching her. Eat fruit loops and pizza. And she in fact, had gained six pounds by the time she was discharged. We saw a similar thing in the Brittany Phillips case.

Detective Mike: Correct. And separation test is the gold standard. Right. And what we’ve seen in a lot of these cases, if it really is medical child abuse, once you [00:21:00] separate the offender from that child, then you let that child be a normal child, eat.

What you see is they don’t have. The medical ailments described by the offender, I mean going to eating by mouth in that short of a time period with that weight gain is huge evidence of medical child abuse.

Andrea: So indeed when my niece was discharged from the hospital near the end of the month, she was sent home with my brother-in-law, Andy and his parents, Ruth and Roy.

I should mention that from my previous experience with these three people, they have always been supporters of my sister, and that’s a problem. Yeah. Why is that a problem?

Detective Mike: Because you cannot place with anyone that believes the offender is innocent because you will get, as we I’ve seen, in one case, we actually had much housing by proxy, by proxy, where a CPS investigator went to the doctor’s appointment when [00:22:00] the child was placed with maternal grandparents.

And they got to the doctor’s appointment and they called mom on the phone to give the doctor medical history. You know, I mean, you cannot make that placement. These offenders are extremely manipulative, especially with loved ones who don’t believe that they’re guilty. They will violate any safety plan or any placement plan.

The family members will allow the offender around that child and they won’t supervise. We’ve seen it time and time and time again.

Andrea: And that is in fact, exactly what happened here. So five days after my niece was discharged, she was brought back to the hospital because she had lost a pound after leaving the hospital and the family reported to the doctors that she had demonstrated a quote, intolerance of foods.

And that they’d subsequently halved her feeds that she was still receiving through, I believe a G-tube, and supplemented her diet with Pedialyte, which is a very strange [00:23:00] thing to do. Pedialyte doesn’t have many calories in it. They did this and it was not under the direction of doctors, right? Doctors did not tell them to do this.

So when Roy, my sister’s father-in-law was questioned about this feeding plan that they’d put her on where they were having her feeds and all of that, and where they were getting that information, he was extremely cagey and he expressed incredulity that the weight that the hospital was getting was correct.

He was just doubtful that that weight was correct, which is very strange. He admitted around this point of the investigation that they were letting Megan spend up to 11 hours at the house that his. Concept of supervising her was either they’re all in the house at once or they’re all outside at once, and that they were letting her do things like change her diapers, which she was still wearing at five.

Detective Mike: This should have led to an immediate C P s removal from them and placement somewhere else. It’s apparent that her father-in-law was not gonna be convinced by any evidence, and at that point there should have been a [00:24:00] removal. I face these same issues with CPS in my state. A lot of it is educational problems, right? They don’t have policies, they don’t know what this is, they don’t know what to do about it, and a lot of times, even if they do, their judges won’t allow them to.

Andrea: Judge Manini in the family court dependency decision. She uses the fact that my niece was still on a feeding tube as evidence that my sister was not the cause of the problem as though they had actually been separated, when in fact they had not been separated.

Detective Mike: So they won’t pull that tube out for several months until afterwards. That’s pretty standard in every case that I’ve had. The feeding tube is always going to stay in for a month or two after separation because they need to make sure that it’s the correct diagnosis. They need to make sure this child can eat.

They may need supplemental feeds while they learn to eat by mouth.

Andrea: I counted referrals to c p s from four different hospitals in the area, from Children’s, from Valley Medical, from [00:25:00] Swedish Hospital, and then of course from Mary Bridge. I feel like that is also similar to the Brittany Phillips case.

Detective Mike: It shows Dr.

Shopping, right. If she doesn’t get something, she goes somewhere else to get what she wants. And did all of those hospitals report concerns?

Andrea: Yeah, there were mentions of CPS referrals from four different hospitals, yes.

Detective Mike: That is obviously extremely concerning. For this abuse. You’re not just having one person say it.

I mean, unless, you know, let’s go back to Roy’s mindset. Really. Are four different hospitals conspiring against this poor mother? No. You have four different independent entities. Seeing this and saying something isn’t right here.

Andrea: So in reviewing all of the documentation that I have, here is a recap of the biggest things that stuck out to me.

A pattern of increasingly premature birth in three babies, one of whom died. Two babies, my nephew and my niece both diagnosed failure to thrive, both of whom had feeding tubes. My niece had a G-tube. [00:26:00] She had a vascular

port. She was hospitalized for sepsis, which is something that we see come up a lot in these cases.

There was obviously a previous investigation of abuse for my sister’s older child. And along with the suspicions about her own munch housing behavior, which we covered really extensively in the first season. My sister also has a nursing background, which comes up a lot in these, and in fact, she worked as a nurse until about 2009 in a high risk O B G Y N clinic.

She was only licensed to work as a nurse through 2004, so she worked for a long time with elapse license. Again, we covered, there was this video evidence of her withholding. Anticoagulant medication and all of the feeding issues that seemed to resolve in a very short period of time. Once she was separated, only to come back once.

She was presumably according to her, in-laws spending a lot of time with the child. Once again. We also have Dr. Jenny’s report and just the mere fact that there were [00:27:00] 73,000 pages of medical records, and as I mentioned, four different entities who appeared to have reported her to c p s. Again, all of the documents that we refer to here are in the public record.

We have collected them, and we’ll put that link in our show notes.

And then I wanna talk about this piece that was in the media, because I think that these things can do a lot of material damage. I feel that this particular media story has made children in this state less safe. Do you agree with that?

Detective Mike: I would agree. And not just this one, this series of stories by this particular reporter,

Andrea: the journalist that we’re discussing.

His name is Mike Embo, and for the record, I did reach out to him and ask him if he would like to join us. He politely, Declined that offer. And I also reached out to the local journalist, Taylor Mki from King Five, who covered this and she did not get back to me. So, uh, Mike Emba did a whole series called Do No Harm, that was about parents being accused of abuse, parents being accused of medical child abuse.

In f mid-February of 2020, a [00:28:00] piece was published about my sister Megan’s case. The headline they used is a Tacoma Doctor Diagnosing Child Abuse. Is missing a key thing, her certification to do it. Mike, I would say we

could probably just go ahead and start with the errors in that headline. What do you wanna say about that headline?


Detective Mike: Well, what the article talks about is, uh, child abuse, pediatrician, and having that certification, that’s a fairly new certification, mainly only. Doctors at children’s hospitals in major cities have that. We have nurse practitioners who are diagnosing child abuse in rural counties in your state and my state.

That article makes it seem like you have to be a child abuse pediatrician to diagnose. Abuse. And you don’t, it is a slanted article.

Andrea: Yeah, and I mean, I think the child abuse pediatrician element of this, so this article came out in February of 2020, so this was during the criminal investigation. [00:29:00] And one of the misleading things that this article says is it mentions that there was a police investigation initiated, and it says that no charges were ever filed.

Well, that makes it sound as though nothing came of that investigation when that investigation. Investigation was very much ongoing when this article came out. So, I mean, as far as I can tell, and you know, again, I, Mike Kicken Bagg did not wanna talk about it or his, you know, methodology for putting this piece together.

So I don’t know, but best I can tell, I. The main source document that’s used in this piece and that is linked to in this piece is a 26 page report from Judge Susan Amini. She is the person who oversaw the dependency hearing. The state in this case did file for dependency of my sister’s two children.

Mike, can you tell us what a dependency petition is?

Detective Mike: Again, c p s decides whether the child’s safe, and that is a civil process, right? That is separate from the criminal process. So they will go before a family court judge, juvenile [00:30:00] court judge, whatever it’s called, state to state, and both sides will present facts and then the judge will make a, a ruling on custody of the child.

That’s not a criminal ruling, that’s not a determination whether mom is guilty or not. That is merely. Custody of the child.

Andrea: So should the child remain in the home at this time? That’s correct.

Detective Mike: All that to say that a civil court ruling should never preclude a criminal prosecution.

Andrea: So the way that this judge’s order is used in this article and in fact has been used elsewhere.

I, I have been sent this judge’s order numerous times via a cease and desist from my sister’s lawyers. It is treated like it is the final word on this case, and in fact, what you’re explaining to us here is that. It is not,

Detective Mike: it’s the final word on custody, right? It’s not the final word on criminal charges.

That court has nothing to do

Andrea: with criminal charges. No. And it’s not that judge’s job to say this person is guilty or innocent.

Detective Mike: Well, no, and if you look at the date of that petition, she didn’t have the evidence to do so.

Andrea: Right. [00:31:00] So, you know, as we mentioned, This article, and it’s clear from the headline, they really fixate on Dr.

Elizabeth Woods, who was the head of the child abuse team at Mary Bridge Hospital, which is in Tacoma, Washington, and they really, really fixated on the fact that she is not a child abuse pediatrician. So child abuse pediatrician, we’ve spoken to one on this show, Dr. Jamie Kaufman at Cook Children’s is a child abuse pediatrician.

You are going to find people with that designation at large, well-resourced children’s hospitals. Now, there are a lot of places, obviously you can, we can see the problem right there, which any children’s hospital is going to be, you know, required to report abuse and if they suspect abuse. And actually one of the, something you and I, Mike have talked about a lot is that there is a misconception even among doctors of.

When they should report, you should report when you suspect abuse, right? Not when you have a smoking gun. Correct. I

Detective Mike: mean, I’ve reviewed medical records on cases where three, four years before it was finally reported, [00:32:00] they’re charting munch housing by proxy and to doctors listening, if you are charting munch housing by proxy, you are charting abuse.

You’re technically violating, uh, at least my state law, I’m sure of our state laws. Yeah. Probably mandatory reporting laws in most states, but doctors weirdly view this and I think it’s goes to the lack of understanding of this actually being abuse. They tend to view it as well. That’s mom’s mental health.

Well, no, it’s abuse. It’s abuse on the child. So you ha you are required by law to report, but you see it again, not with Cook’s records. Because they’re better on this than others, but I see it with other hospitals. Even in our area where they’re charting two, three years and never reporting to Child Protective Services.

They may report to their child abuse team, but that’s not what the law says. If you are charting this abuse, you must report this abuse to whom? CPS or law enforcement. I recommend reporting to both because of the lack of understanding around this abuse with CPS and law enforcement. You report to [00:33:00] both and you hope one of them gets it.

Andrea: So I wanna say one last thing about this piece of reporting. The thesis of this article is that basically that Megan is innocent. Because the person who reported her was not a child abuse pediatrician. However, this was in the middle of the investigation and they did have a child abuse pediatrician reviewing the medical records of this case.

In fact, they had one of the most well-respected child abuse pediatricians and experts on ous by proxy in the country reviewing the medical records of this case. That person is not mentioned once in this article,

Detective Mike: and I find that an intentional. Omission, right? I mean, they linked the decision knowing that probably no one’s going to read it as an intentional omission to present.

A narrative. I mean, it’s not reporting to me, it’s, it’s being a pundit. It’s what you would see on late night [00:34:00] talk shows.

Andrea: So as we mentioned, Mike Embo has done an entire series on this issue. My sister reached out to him. He mentioned that in a previous piece that he did a very small thing on her case and then decided to do this larger quote.

Expose. So she reached out to him. It’s sort of, he put out the bad signal for people who this thing false accusations in his parlance has happened to, and she got in touch with him. So what I’m holding here is a 26 page report from a judge Susan Amini of the Superior Court of Washington, county of King, so King County Juvenile Court.

This document. Was linked in its entirety in the N B C piece. I don’t believe normally this would be part of the public record, just in and of itself, because usually things were revolving around juvenile court and family court are sealed, right? Because it has to do with minors. So presumably my sister shared this with the reporters.

It has also been sent to me numerous times [00:35:00] by. My sister’s lawyers who wish to inhibit me from talking about her, and basically this is being sent to me and sometimes people, I’m working with my book publisher, et cetera, in the context of it being proof that my sister is innocent. So I wanted to go through this document and talk about what’s in it and talk about some things that stuck out at me.

Maybe also we should just talk about a juvenile or family court hearings. These are not the same things as a trial. A judge gets to decide what they want to hear and what they don’t wanna hear, right? And you don’t have a jury sitting there making a decision. So I wanna start with. My experience of reading through this, which I didn’t do for years, I knew the gist of it and I thought, I don’t know that I need to put myself through 26 pages of of this.

When I finally did read it in detail, something jumped off the page at me and it was so. [00:36:00] Surprising that the first time I read it I thought, oh, they just, they got their words wrong. And then it’s mentioned three other times in the document and then I thought, oh no, this really, they’re really saying that this happened.

Here is what it says. Testimony was presented from Dr. Woods and Dr. Jenny. So again, that is, Dr. Woods is the person from Mary Bridge Hospital who reported Dr. Jenny is the child abuse pediatrician and medical child abuse expert who is reviewing, at this time the 75,000 pages of medical records that have been subpoenaed about my niece.

And obviously she’s not done with her review at this time because there were 75,000 pages of it. So testimony was presented from Dr. Woods and Dr. Jenny that the mother. My sister had been the victim of medical child abuse, which they stated was a risk factor for perpetrating abuse number one. There has never

been any whisper of abuse happening to [00:37:00] my sister in her childhood from my family.

My sister was not sickly as a child. I mean, there’s no way. That anyone would have that impression. My parents have never been investigated. My sister wasn’t sick as a kid. She started to have these health issues when she was a teenager. And again, you know, some of those we know she was responsible for other ones we don’t know so much about.

But you know, that behavior started when she was a teenager and kind of went into her twenties, right? She wasn’t in and outta the hospital when she was a kid. She wasn’t born premature. She didn’t have any of these things that fit into this. One of the things that going through a case like this, Does to your psyche, it leaves you with this lingering feeling that at any moment the walls around you could fall down and you could find yourself to be in the middle of a big lie that you didn’t see.

There was like this tiny part of me that was like, is there something about my own family that I don’t know? And then I sat with it for a minute and I was like, no. I sat and just rifled through my memories. And I was like, no, no, no, no. And then I thought, my God, why would Dr. Jenny [00:38:00] say that? Because it’s right here.

It’s in detail. I mean, the first time it was mentioned, it was mentioned that it was in like the state’s petition that she was a victim of medical child abuse. And my immediate thought when I read that sentence was, oh, they’ve got it wrong. They’re talking about the suspicion of her munch housing behaviors, right, of her exaggerating, inducing illness on herself.

Right. So these things, like her shaving her head in high school and saying she was losing her hair, the entire fake twin pregnancy that she had in her twenties. So I thought, oh, that’s just like a, it’s like a misprint. And then reading this, it was in such detail that I was like, oh, what? You know, it just, I was flabbergasted.

I was confused in that moment. I was like, Again, even though I knew how flawed this decision was because the nature of it’s flawed, I still was like, but it’s right here in the record. So I called Dr. Jenny, who I know. She is an expert who is part of the American Professional Society on the Abuse Children’s Munchhouse by Proxy committee, which is a committee that Mike and I are also on.

I [00:39:00] did not know her at the time of this ruling or at the time of her beginning this investigation. So that relationship does not have any bearing on this case, but I, but we do know each other, and Dr. Woods unfortunately is not able to comment on any of this. But I, I was able to confirm with Dr. Jenny, um, you know, again, this is testimony in the public record and at this point it doesn’t have anything to do with medical records, right?

It’s about her testimony. And so, right now what stands in the public record that has been shared with the media is that Dr. Jenny sat on the stand and accused my parents of child abuse. So obviously this didn’t sit right with me for many reasons, but for a long time I wasn’t sure if there was anything I could actually do to set the record straight.

Fortunately, I happened to know Dr. Jenny and I already had her in mind as an expert to interview. For this podcast because she is the person who coined the term medical child abuse and is just really one of the most well-respected experts in this field. And just to say we’re gonna be releasing that interview as [00:40:00] its own bonus episode, I highly recommend it.

She is absolutely fascinating. So most of that interview is just us talking about her work, but towards the end. I was able to ask her a couple of direct questions about her testimony in this hearing. Here’s that part of my conversation with Dr. Jenny.

The judge mentioned several times in the opinion that she wrote that you, Dr. Jenny had testified that my sister was herself a victim of medical child abuse and that that made her more likely to be a perpetrator and that because Judge Amini did not see any evidence that she was a victim of medical child abuse.

She used that to basically discredit you. I don’t understand that. Essentially right now, there is a public record that you sat on the stand and accused my parents of abuse. That never happened. I never did. All I did was read the medical record. I can tell [00:41:00] you that in the medical record, which is my only source of information, there was no evidence of any abuse of the mother of any kind in the medical record.

That’s all I have. I had no outside sources. I had no investigation. Yeah. Just to clarify why Dr. Jenny is being so emphatic about what was and wasn’t in the medical records. Her only role in an investigation like this is to examine the child’s medical records, so she’s not talking to family members of the, the history of the alleged perpetrator.

She’s not talking to anyone about. Anything else? She is just looking at the medical records. There would be no reason for her to opine on an alleged perpetrator’s history of abuse. I mean, it’s several times she says that you and Dr. Woods testified, oh, Megan was a victim of medical child abuse and so that’s why she perpetrated medical child abuse.

I said that according to judge. Yes. Okay. Well that was not in the medical record. I’ll read you the piece. Here is one [00:42:00] of the instances testimony was presented from Dr. Woods and Dr. Jenny that the mother had been a victim of medical child abuse, which they stated was a risk factor for perpetrating abuse.

Neither Dr. Woods, Dr. Jenny, or any of the other witnesses presented at trial, investigated this allegation and no evidence was presented about what abuse the mother suffered. An expert’s opinion must be supported by credible evidence. I never said that the court did not. Um, did not hear what evidence the doctors had used to Alpine that the mother was a victim of medical child abuse herself.

No evidence was presented to show what, when, where, or how the mother had been a victim. There was no evidence presented at trial to establish that the mother was a victim of medical abuse without any factual basis to support the opinion of Dr. Woods and Dr. Jenny. On this point, the court is not convinced that this opinion is in fact accurate.

That was not my opinion. There’s one other paragraph about you. Okay. Dr. Jenny, who has extensive experience was factually mistaken at times, and at other times did not support her opinion with the underlying facts. Her testimony showed that in her review of the record, [00:43:00] she basically rubber stamped Dr.

Wood’s findings without a critical view of her findings. For example, both doctor’s claimed that the mother was a victim of medical child abuse. Neither one investigated this claim. There is no evidence to prove this claim, but they used it as a factor against the mother. I never said that. That’s crazy.

And this claim that you rubber stamped Dr. Wood’s findings, you were still in the middle of the record review at this time. It was not complete until I have only halfway go through it. And I, I was put on the stand when I didn’t have a complete record. On the other hand, the record was so compelling. I, there was no doubt in my mind.

As to what I testified and the rubber stamp, I guess you can say if the evidence is there, it’s there. And if we both quoted the same evidence, there you go. It’s interesting because like doctors, that’s their paradigm, right? That’s the way they look at things is right, right. Here’s the evidence. So if you’re both saying the same evidence, then yeah, to your point, but I would really like would be for the news, [00:44:00] the, the whoever is interested.

To go back to the court, well, not even the court, because that was only half the evidence, but go back to the people that have my final report, get permission from the parents to have it released. Mm-hmm. And read the whole 37 pages. Mm-hmm. Single spaced that I wrote. Yeah. And see, you know, what? The evidence actually is, yeah, we have reached out to the prosecutor about this case.

Yeah, I sent a letter to Judge Amini, yeah, yesterday letting her know that we’re gonna be discussing her decision and some of the factual errors in it, and wondering if her office would like to comment and in fact, Andy Carter, my sister’s husband has many times said on social media and elsewhere, that I am lying essentially, and that he has documentation to prove it.

I assume he’s referring to the judge’s opinion, but we’ve invited him on here and certainly if he wants to share with me or any other media outlet this documentation. I would be happy to look at it. So we will again invite [00:45:00] them to give Dr. Jenny permission to share her report. Okay. One of the things that as I sort of understood and, and picked it apart over the years that I couldn’t understand was, how do you ignore Dr.

Jenny? How do you sit there and ignore testimony from someone? And again, she was not finished with her medical record review, but it’s clear from these documents that she also testified, you know, against my sister, it’s very clear that she had concerns for that. She had concerns. Yeah. This is what the court is meant to evaluate at this time.

Right? Not guilt or innocence. So Well,

Detective Mike: and this is again, a flaw in the system with these cases, they are actually determining a final outcome and they’re determining that final outcome before all the evidence is reviewed. And that’s again, the final outcome for custody that they’re determining and they’re doing it before all the evidence is reviewed.

And that’s really not fair to either side.

Andrea: I don’t know if people will believe me when I say this, but I did not set out to find more evidence. To somehow condemn my sister. It is horrible to think [00:46:00] about these things that might be happening to my niece and nephew.

Detective Mike: You would be happy if you found information that she didn’t do this?

Andrea: Yes. Yes. And again, maybe this, because I’ve been sort of personally accused of this. This exists more in my imagination than it does in in anyone else’s perception, but I have been vilified by that side. I mean, my whole family has. As my father has, it’s, that’s in the documents and like there is nothing in it for me other than I feel like I have tried everything that I could think of to protect my niece and nephew and putting the name Megan Carter out into the public with this information, which is public record.

And putting it in context for people. With all that I know and all that you know is a last resort, like, listen, I know that my sister and her husband and her supporters are gonna hate me for doing this. And I know full well my niece and nephew may also hate me for doing [00:47:00] this, but I couldn’t live with it anymore.

Knowing all of this and having the context that I do and seeing what’s been put into the media and what hasn’t, and my feeling, this is my opinion, my feeling that the system failed and put my niece and nephew back in harm’s way, I couldn’t. Live with it anymore. And so what consequences come from this? I guess I’m just willing to take that at this point, and it has taken me a long time to get here, but I can’t be the keeper of this knowledge.

I wish someone else had reported on it. I wish my kicks and BOG had done an actual reporting job on this case.

Detective Mike: Yeah, I just reported fairly. Just report on both sides.

Andrea: No problem. I don’t need anyone, and that’s the thing. You don’t need to believe me. You don’t need to believe my impressions or my opinions, right?

Just look at what is in the public record and come to your own conclusions.

Detective Mike: Let’s assume that this abuse is happening. [00:48:00] And these systems, all of them have failed these children. You are the last line of

defense. Maybe a doctor will hear this podcast that’s treating them and think twice about the treatment course.

Andrea: So this charging decision was made in April, 2020. Which is several years ago now, and I don’t know very much about how my niece and nephew are doing. I felt like all of this was important to share because my big goal for this show was to really shine a light on this abuse, and I’ve been really inspired by a lot of the people we’ve talked to about their story who’ve been really brave in sharing what they know.

And I hope that. Sharing these details about how, in my opinion, a case can go very wrong, even when there is very strong evidence will help people understand just how far behind we are on this form of abuse. Because this is the story [00:49:00] I’ve heard the most is that these cases fall apart in family court.

This investigation wrapped up three years ago because nobody in my family or in my life is in touch with Megan or Andy. I do not know much about how the kids are doing other than the occasional updates that they share with the media or on their social media. So that’s a bit of a mystery. I can tell you that in the intervening years, My sister has started working as a paralegal for her attorney and they worked on the Sophie Hartman case, another local Seattle case of an offender who was arrested and also got her children returned to her by family court.

Megan’s husband, Andy Carter, has always publicly maintained his support for my sister. However, I recently found out that he did file a [00:50:00] petition for divorce during these family court hearings. Though he withdrew it several days after the judge’s decision came down. He is currently, according to his Facebook page, president of their PTA and is running for school board.

Both Megan and Andy have been invited by my producer to share their thoughts publicly on this show. Both have declined and that is a standing invitation, and if they share anything anywhere else, I will respond to it.

It felt like justice wasn’t served at all, like nobody was protecting this child that we were all fighting so hard to protect, and they let her down. They let our whole family down. Really, that’s next time on. Nobody should believe me.

Nobody should believe me is produced by large media. Our music is by Johnny Nicholson and Joel Pac. Special thanks to our lead producer, Tina [00:51:00] Nole, and our editor Travis Clark.

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