Nobody Should Believe Me S02

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What Jack Knew

As 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 $200 million dollars in damages following the suicide of his wife Beata while their daughter Maya Kowalski was in state custody because a medical child abuse investigation. Though the media has been largely sympathetic to Kowalski’s case—thanks in large part to the popular Netflix film “Take Care of Maya”—our exploration continues to reveal that nothing about this story is what is seems.

With the case headed towards appeal, we take a closer look at newly released information about what was going on with the Kowalski family, as well as how this verdict is affecting mandatory reporting and the safety of children in pediatric hospitals all around the country.

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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:


[00:00:00] 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 munchausen support. com to connect with professionals who can help. Hello, it is Andrea Dunlop and welcome back.

To season three of Nobody Should Believe Me. I guess we are technically in season three and a half here. While we are working away on season four, and that, by the way, will be premiering on June 20th, which I am so excited about. In the meantime, I wanted to bring you some updates on the ongoing drama of the Kowalski case.

And just as a reminder, if you want even more new content in the meantime, you can subscribe on Apple or Patreon, where you will get at least two bonus episodes a month. Right now I am deep [00:01:00] diving the Justina Pelletier case with Dr. Becks, and as always, if monetary support isn’t an option for you, rating and reviewing the show and sharing it on social media are great ways to support us.

And you can now find us on YouTube where we’ve got full episodes of the show as well as lots of bonus content. I’m doing it guys. I am getting with the video content. And if you want to get in touch, you can do so by emailing us at hello at nobody should believe me. com or leaving us a voicemail at 484 798 0266.

And I will leave both of those in the show notes as well. We have a mailbag episode coming up, so we would love to hear from you. If you are just joining us, the next few episodes are essentially a continuation of our third season in which we covered the Maya Kowalski case out of Florida, which was featured in the Netflix movie Take Care of Maya.

So just as a recap, Maya Kowalski’s father, Jack, sued Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Florida [00:02:00] last fall after his wife, Beata, died by suicide in the midst of being investigated for Munchausen by proxy abuse. For We covered that whole trial, which ended up with a verdict in the Kowalski’s favor.

But this situation is complex and ongoing, as you will see. So as I said, these episodes will make a lot more sense if you have listened to all of our third season. But if you’re just joining us and you really can’t wait to dive in, backstory by listening to episodes one through four from last season, and I will put a link to our Spotify playlist with those episodes in the show notes.

One of the big challenges in reporting on this case is that there’s just so much to go through. This story involves years of complicated medical history, litigation, deception, and just flat out weirdness. And the impacts of this verdict, again, the court, as it stands, has awarded the Kowalski family over 200 million, are playing out.

All across the [00:03:00] country, in places like Lehigh, Pennsylvania, where there is now a class action lawsuit against a hospital that really mirrors this situation. And that, by the way, is a story that we’re going to dig into in an upcoming episode. And this story is reverberating in my own backyard as well, where Sophie Hartman, a mother who was criminally charged for medically abusing her child, is now suing the police department, DCF, the Washington CASA program, That’s Court Appointed Special Advocate, i.

  1. the people who represent children’s interests in court, and Seattle Children’s Hospital. This lawsuit came about after the King County Prosecuting Attorney claimed there was not enough evidence for a felony charge against Hartman and subsequently dropped it down to a lower court where the charges were ultimately dismissed.

So, Sophie Hartman is now suing for being, quote, falsely accused of medical abuse, alleging that the doctors at Seattle Children’s colluded against her. I have to say, this one hit extra hard for me because not only is it where I live, but Hartman is working with the same lawyer, Adam [00:04:00] Shapiro, who represented my sister Megan Carter in court.

And at one point, my sister was helping out with this case as a paralegal. So,

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. If you questioned every thing that everyone told you, you couldn’t make it through your day.

I’m Andrea Dunlop, and this is Nobody Should Believe Me.

If you have been following along, you’ll know that I ended up spending A lot of time covering this case over the last six months. I originally was going to just cover the Netflix film. That ended up becoming a four part series. That ended up becoming a 14 part series. That ended up with me doing weekly trial coverage and [00:05:00] watching every single moment of the trial.

So this is one of these stories where rabbit holes just lead to more rabbit holes. And the deeper I get into this whole thing, the more that this story, at least as it’s been portrayed in most of the media, the story where an aggrieved family triumphs over a heartless group of doctors, just goes up in smoke.

There just isn’t anything about this story that is as it seems. And I’m certainly not the only person who questions all of this, but I do seem to be the only person interested in devoting airtime to it, as evidenced by the fact that Maya Kowalski, along with her father Jack, the film producer Caitlin Keating, and one of their lawyers, Nick Whitney, are headlining CrimeCon this year.

CrimeCon, for those of you who don’t know, is a massive fan convention for all things true crime that draws thousands of people each year and features lots of big names in the space, including many podcasts. I went last year, had a good time. [00:06:00] Anyway, so listen, at some point I know I’m gonna need to let this case go and I am not under any delusion that I’m going to affect the outcome of anything here or change any of the too credulous media folks mind about this story.

But the time has not come to let it go yet because this thing is not over. And the truth about this case, it’s about a hundred times weirder than the story that most people have heard. So we are going to be checking in with Ethan Shapiro, who is the lead attorney for Johns Hopkins All Children’s, about what happened with the request for retrial, the quote juror interview that happened after the verdict, and where everything stands with the appeal.

That’ll be in an upcoming episode. But first, I wanted to discuss some of what has come out about this situation in between now and the last time that I was on the air with Dr. Sally Smith. So, [00:07:00] things about this case continue to emerge, and I want to give a shout out to the tenacious Reddit community that has remained invested in this case.

I feel like what’s going on with the Kowalski case is worth unraveling. And the more I’ve learned about Jack Kowalski in particular, the more distressed I’ve become about his involvement in this whole thing. You know, no matter what happens in this case, My heart goes out to Kyle and Maya, I really think they are the victims and I feel for them so much for everything that they’ve been through, especially on such a huge stage.

And initially, believe it or not, I felt a fair amount of sympathy for Jack. Watching the film, I thought, you know, he was wrong about Maya’s illness, and I thought he was wrong to pursue this lawsuit, but I really maintained the possibility that he was genuinely credulous about Beata’s story of Maya’s illness.

And we see this all the [00:08:00] time. We see dads who, for whatever reason, just are not clued in to their kid’s medical care and just believe what the mom is telling them. And, you know, They’re not always at fault for doing that, but we know now that this is not the case with Jack Kowalski. So again, we interviewed Dr.

Sally Smith last season. She is the child abuse pediatrician who wrote a 47 page review of Maya Kowalski’s medical records and made the determination that Munchausen by proxy abuse was happening. And she discussed with us Jack’s somewhat unusual involvement in this case. Here is that part of the episode.

Beata had been the main subject of the investigation and all of the data that we have about medical child abuse points to a very high proportion of female perpetrators. But by the time Dr. Sally Smith had finished looking at all of the records she’d collected on Maya, [00:09:00] she’d really begun to question Jack’s initial presentation of himself as the dad that was just pretty clueless about his daughter’s medical care.

Since he had been the parent who took her to, I think, at least half of these unconventional treatments. I mean, I didn’t really know what dynamic was there and what his level of complicity might be and, you know, that kind of thing. At this point, it just doesn’t stand to reason that Jack didn’t know that something was off.

Here, for example, is a clip from his interview with Detective Stephanie Graham from the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department who was investigating PIATA, and he’s talking about his reaction to the Munchausen by proxy allegations. Have you ever heard of the term Munchausen by proxy? Yes. I didn’t know what it was until Until when?

And who brought that up? Who brought that term up to you? Uh, [00:10:00] that’s when, uh, this all happened and then, uh, it was in the, uh, court thing. The court document. And then I read it and it’s like, well, you know, I could see where they’re going with it. Okay. As I said at the very beginning, you know, I don’t have any jurisdiction here in St.

Pete. Door’s unlocked. You’re welcome to leave. You’re not under arrest. Yeah, I know, I know. I just wanted to repeat that because we’ve been talking for a while now. So that term has come up. Were you aware or did your attorneys ever tell you there is a possibility of a criminal investigation? Um, I’m trying to think.

Ms. Cordon, she didn’t think so. She did not. And why? I don’t know. I asked her in court and that was the first time I met the woman. And then, uh, I honestly didn’t know what was going on. So when you heard this term, you saw it. Did anybody explain to you what it was? I looked it up. Where did you look it up at?

Um, my phone. WebMD? Or some other? I just typed in. And what do you recall it saying [00:11:00] about Munchausen by proxy? For what it said, it was almost textbook of what we went through. Jack’s apparent involvement in Maya’s medical care really gets to the heart of one of the problems with casting Munchausen by proxy primarily as a mental illness, rather than as a form of abuse.

Because if Beata was behaving like this because she was ill, Then did Jack also have Munchausen by proxy if he went along with it? And we also know that the enabling of abuse by a parent, even if they’re not the main person who is perpetrating it, is seemingly not uncommon. This happens, for example, in child sex abuse cases.

A mother, for instance, does not need to have pedophilic disorder, which is also in the DSM, to enable her husband’s abuse of her children. And, as we talked about in some of those other cases that came up in the film, abusive head trauma cases, physical abuse cases, it’s sadly just not uncommon for a parent [00:12:00] to cover for their spouse in those situations.

So again, I think the thing that strikes me is how seemingly involved Jack was in Maya’s care, both in taking her to her actual appointments and also with the fundraising efforts. And one of the things that’s come out in this interim period is that during this period between her ketamine coma in Mexico in early 2016 and her, quote, relapse in October that sent her to Johns Hopkins, Maya was supposedly doing much better as a result of the ketamine coma.

But what’s come out in the meantime is that the Kowalskis, along with their church, organized another big fundraiser in April of that year. to send Maya back to Mexico for a second ketamine coma treatment. So, again, these treatments that she was getting were very dangerous and very extreme and we have every reason to believe that Jack was very involved, even if he [00:13:00] wasn’t the person driving it.

We also know that Jack was not the sort of typical passive dad that you sometimes see in these cases, and that shows up in some of the literature about these cases. Jack was retired. He said he retired because he wanted to spend a lot more time with the kids, which he seems to have done. He was very involved.

So, Why in the hell would someone not question this treatment plan for their own child? Why wouldn’t he have listened to the doctors at Tampa General and Lurie Children’s that this was a conversion disorder? We know now that Beata Kowalski was specifically looking for the diagnosis of CRPS. That is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare pain disorder that usually stems from an initial injury and affects a person’s extremities.

She sought out Dr. Kirkpatrick, who was the person who originally gave her the diagnosis, to get that diagnosis after being referred to him by [00:14:00] parents on a CRPS message board. So as much as I do believe that Beata was the one who was driving this treatment plan, I’m not comfortable blaming her for Jack’s actions.

So, What is up with this guy?

You know, something that really struck me during the trial was how little we heard from people who actually knew Beata. The only friend of hers we heard from was someone who’d never even met her in real life, but just known her through an online support group for parents with children who have CRPS.

Here is a brief clip from the testimony of that friend. How did you first get to know Beata Kowalski? Um, my son started a non profit when he was 10 years old, and I’ve been running it ever since, and I run our parent support groups. Okay, and what is this for? Um, my son has complex regional pain syndrome, and he started Ferocious Fighters [00:15:00] to make sure other kids didn’t have to feel as alone as he did.

There was also a brief bit of deposition from one of Beata’s sisters, Renata, towards the end of the trial. And, of course, we heard about her from Maya and Kyle, who were 10 and 7 at the time of her death, and from a few others who testified towards the beginning of the trial. We heard from the uncle, teacher and that very colorful church friend who I have to say was one of the more entertaining witnesses.

And you said that there was some dark force. You’re not talking about the room was dark. You felt some sort of dark energy. Yeah, it was like the devil was behind me. We were the light coming in and there was the devil behind me. It’s What it was, it was dark. There’s just, it was the devil.

But with the exception of her sister, who spoke through a translator, none of these people struck me as people who actually knew Beata very well. Where were her friends? Where were her family members? [00:16:00] In reviewing all of these thousands of pages, and attempting to put the picture of this case together, it strikes me that Beata seemed pretty lonely.

What we do have of her, which is a lot of blog posts and a lot of emails, really just speaks to her absolutely consuming obsession with Maya’s medical treatments. We don’t hear anything else about Maya as a person. In these documents, but we also don’t hear anything about Beata. One of my biggest remaining questions after covering this case was what Beata’s older brother, Peter, thought about the relationship between Beata and Jack and the strange circumstances surrounding her death.

He was the person who discovered her body, who was present during those strange events leading up to and right after Beata’s death. And just a note here that we referred to him as Piotr in a previous episode because that’s how he was listed in the paperwork, but he appears to mostly go by Peter, so that is what we are going to call him going [00:17:00] forward.

Peter was never brought to court to testify, but he did give a deposition and we do have his interview with the police. And he had A lot to say about what went down here.

Peter was the only boy out of four siblings in Beata’s family, all of whom emigrated from Poland at various points in their younger years. And this family appears to have been fairly close, especially when they all lived in the Chicago area, where Peter was still living during the time of this case.

Peter was very busy at the time, apparently, with work, and he was also getting an MBA at the time. But with all this going on, he appeared to have made a really big effort to try and visit often and help the family out while Maya was under the separation order. And during one of these visits, he made a really alarming observation about the behavior of Maya’s younger brother, Kyle.

This clip [00:18:00] is from his deposition. Can you estimate how many times you went to court in 2016 or 2017? I remember one series that actually it was a week. It was at the time that parents were in the court and I took Kyle to Dr. Lee to St. Petersburg. I remember it was basically after the court, within the court, my sister and me, we drove Kyle to the hospital in Fort Myers to emotionally support my sister.

Why did you have to take Kyle to a hospital in Fort Myers? A very good question, sir. Basically, Kyle would complain on the pain quote over and over. But, I observed, Kyle was playing all day under his father’s supervision. He was not complaining on anything. Beata is coming from work. Kyle has a pain over screaming pain over and remember discussions with better asking where he want to go So we decided [00:19:00] we’re going to go to the Fort Myers and we’re going together two separate cars In case one of us needs to stay in the Fort Myers with a car.

You’re claiming that in 2016 Kyle had some pain you didn’t necessarily Observe him to be in pain You But Beata thought that Kyle was in pain, so you guys got into a car and went down south to Fort Myers to get Kyle some health care? With his father’s approval, because Jack was at the time. Okay, so you had Mr.

Kowalski’s approval to take Kyle down to Fort Myers, right? Yes, sir. What did you observe about Kyle’s pain complaints? So Kyle acted very strangely. Jack had the table outside of his garage on the chair. He was sitting and Kyle was playing with the Maya schoolmates, her name was Julia. They were dancing like a kid.

And the my sister came [00:20:00] after all day and Kyle is the quote, paying over. Do you know what year this was? It was between the time that Maya was, uh, locked up. And before they had a passing away. Okay, so at some point while Maya was at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and before your sister’s passing, Kyle began to complain of pain all over, is that correct?

Yes, sir. And why did you decide to go down to Fort Myers, which is pretty far south of Sarasota, rather than just going to Sarasota hospitals. So we’re discussing with Kyle, and Kyle afraid that if he goes to the Jop Hopkins, he is going to be also stripped off like Maya from both parents. Kyle afraid that he will not see the parents anymore like Maya.

Understood. So just to recap what Peter is saying here, during one of his visits with the family while Maya was under shelter order at Johns Hopkins, [00:21:00] Peter saw Kyle happily playing at home for hours until Beata arrived home from work, at which point he began complaining that he was in a coma. Agonizing, quote, full body pain.

Peter then went with them to a hospital that was over an hour away. Evidently, this was out of the fear that Kyle may also end up in state custody if they went somewhere closer by. At that hospital, Peter explains in his testimony, the doctors evaluated Kyle and found there to be nothing wrong with him.

It really sounded very familiar, and I realized that that’s because this presentation Beat for Beat is what Jack Kowalski, of his own volition, described to detective Stephanie Graham about Maya’s behavior. And this confirmed what staff at multiple hospitals had observed about Maya’s reports of pain, that they would often overdo it.

only happen when Beata was present, and this is a [00:22:00] huge red flag for abuse. So, this is a clip from Jack’s interview with Detective Stephanie Graham, and just a note that Beata’s name is bleeped out, but that is who they are talking about. When nobody else was in the room, and the staff, she acted completely normal.

Walk in the room, she was instantly. I’ve heard that many times. There’s no other explanation for that. I noticed it too with myself being home and the b comes home from work. And all of a sudden she’s back? There’ll be changes, yes. So you’re at home, your guys are doing well, and playing. No complaints about pain.

No, no complaints. The b gets home, baby. She’s okay. It just defies credulity at this point, that by the time of Beata’s death in January of 2017, Jack really had no idea that there was a strong possibility that medical child abuse was happening in his home. He was witnessing both his children suddenly devolve into saying they were in excruciating pain the moment their mom [00:23:00] walked through the door, even though they’d been fine all day.

And, he’s been told by multiple world class hospitals at this point that his daughter is suffering from conversion disorder, wherein the body manifests physical symptoms for psychiatric reasons. And yet he still signs off on giving her these potentially lethal ketamine treatments? What? And we know from Dr.

Smith that he was taking her to a lot of her appointments. This is not a situation like George Honeycutt, who you may remember from Season 1, who was deployed overseas while his wife was taking their son in for unnecessary treatments. It really begs the question, at what point

To the extent that the partners of perpetrators, husbands in most known cases, have been studied in the literature, many of the studies point to a dynamic where traditional gender roles are adhered to more strictly than in other families. And often where the father is pretty [00:24:00] passive, particularly when it comes to caring for children.

Now, of course, this dynamic is not unique to abusive households. This has more or less been the norm until recently. Happily, this dynamic isn’t new. does appear to be shifting somewhat. A recent Pew Research study found that dads now spend three times as much time with their children as fathers did 50 years ago.

But before we organize a parade in their honor, I should point out that this same study showed that moms still spend 80 percent more time on housework than their husbands and 75 percent more time on child care. So, you know, the bar started in hell. Also, hashtag not all dads, I should point out that my husband, Mr.

Nobody Should Believe Me, is not at all represented in these statistics. It will be very interesting to see how these shifting dynamics affect this deeply gendered form of abuse. In the best case, maybe many more [00:25:00] dads will catch on to this abuse much quicker because they’re more involved. In the worst case, More of them may become enablers of it.

Or, they may become the perpetrators themselves. Dr. Mark Feldman has always described this as a crime of opportunity. We have no reason to believe that this behavior is something that uniquely lives in women. So, as more men have the opportunity to commit abuse in this way, They may do so.

Dr. Mary Sanders of Stanford, a friend of the show and previous guest, wrote a fascinating paper about some of these dynamics called symptom coaching, factitious disorder by proxy with older children. And just a note here that factitious disorder by proxy and Munchausen by proxy are one and the same. Oh, the terminology.

I found her observations in this paper really relevant to this case and understanding the family dynamics at [00:26:00] play here with Maya and Kyle. So, this paper explains that for older children, and a reminder that Maya was 10 while this was going on, their participation in the ruse of an illness, may fall anywhere along a continuum from complete naivete about what’s going on to active self harm where they’re inducing symptoms in themselves.

Furthermore, Dr. Sanders found that there’s overlap between Munchausen by proxy abuse, a possible real underlying physical illness, factitious disorder, where someone is intentionally faking or causing their own illness, and conversion disorder, which is, if you’ll remember, the diagnosis that three world class institutions gave to Maya Kowalski.

I want to make a note here that collusion in the context of a child victim is not the same thing as culpability. The research notes that there are, of course, many complicated psychological and emotional reasons that a child [00:27:00] might collude with their parent. They may feel that the parent’s love is dependent on it, and they also might want to protect their parent from being found out and fear that they will lose that parent if the abuse is discovered.

But what about the adults who collude? What’s going on there? There are a number of known cases that involved both parents as perpetrators, and even one case study from 1993 that involves both parents and a grandparent as co abusers. In these instances, the entire family unit becomes consumed by the story of illness in the child.

And as to the why of dads getting involved in this abuse, I asked some of my favorite expert friends about this. So, my little panel included Dr. Mark Feldman, Dr. Mary Sanders, Bea Yorker, and Dr. Jim Hamilton from Yale. And they all agreed that gender roles play heavily into this. That for many dads, if there’s a suspicion that abuse has been going [00:28:00] on by his wife under his own nose, that would mean that that man has been duped.

and that he has failed to be the protector of his family. So instead of doing the right thing and intervening to protect his child, he ends up doubling down and protecting the abuser. Basically, he goes down with the ship.

This is something that I think a lot about in regards to my sister’s husband, Andy. As I’ve watched, mostly from a distance, as the situation has evolved over the last 14 years and multiple investigations, I wonder if denial, if it goes on long enough, just becomes something else. After a time, I believe that denial has become so entrenched that to accept the truth at this point would be shattering to the psyche.

That it would just be unbearable. And I think there are fathers who reach a point where any [00:29:00] explanation, no matter how conspiratorial or implausible, becomes preferable. So to understand where Jack Kowalski falls on this spectrum, from in denial to active participant, it’s helpful to look at what we know about the dynamic Beata, especially in the days and weeks leading up to her death.

Jack Kowalski has been painted by most of the media as a sympathetic and even heroic figure who’s been doggedly fighting for his family. And he’s been awarded a great deal of money. Madam Clerk, please publish the verdict. We’ll call the Judicial Circuit hearing for Sarasota County, Florida, case number 2018 CA 005321 NC.

Jack Kowalski individually, Jack Kowalski as parent and next friend of MK, a minor, and Jack Kowalski as personal representative of the estate of Beata Kowalski plaintiffs. Versus [00:30:00] Johns Hopkins, all Children’s Hospital Incorporated defendant punitive damages. Verdict form. Will the jury returned the following verdict in regard to say punitive damage.

A portion of this massive award was based on the premise that Beda and Jack would’ve remained happily married had she not died by suicide. A suicide, which of course at this point has been blamed on the hospital. And there was, during the trial, a specific monetary value assigned to Jack’s loss of Beata, a portion of the trial which was genuinely difficult to listen to.

For a total past loss of support over the past 6. 7 years, Of 266, 070, then going to go to the past replacement value of household services. Right? That I’ve done an average of 4 to 5 hours per day. So, that in part is based on the household services [00:31:00] questionnaire that I reviewed that was completed by Jack Kowalski and he outlined the items and.

Average number of hours per day that my spent doing the items of household services. I also did research on the American time. You survey and the view, the deposition transcripts that I named earlier. So, I allocated 4 to 5 hours per day, and that’s valued at 20 dollars and 10 cents per hour over the past time period that yields a total of 221, 000.

195 for the past replacement value of household services, which yields a total economic damages to date, including those 2 categories of 487, 265 dollars. And is that to a reasonable economic certainty? Yes. And what other calculations have you performed? I’ve also calculated the future loss of support [00:32:00] and the future replacement value of household services.

Alright, you’ve defined that. And of course, Jack played up in his testimony how much he missed Beata. I will never replace what I had. You know, and every night when I lay in bed and roll over, I don’t have somebody to hug and kiss and say goodnight. I can look down at her urn and I say a prayer instead and it’s, it crushes you.

Jack’s testimony was really emotional to listen to. And Gregory Anderson, the lead attorney for the Kowalski family, really drove the monetary value of this lost home in his closing arguments. where he gave jurors some ideas on exactly how to put a price on Beata’s life. And then it’s the damages of the surviving spouse, Jack Kowalski.

And here again, we suggest that you use our method for how to compute damages, which is to figure out for hour by [00:33:00] hour, what the value is for him to have lost his wife. Everything that goes into that, the consortium, the comfort, the support, The waking up at 4 a. m. and having somebody next to you and then not having somebody next to you.

All of those goes into your determination of how to compensate. Jack Kowalski. And so what you would do there, and I’m suggesting 100, but you can, there is evidence in the record for this. Anywhere from minimum wage, which is like 12 up to, there’s evidence of the record, of 700 per hour. We put 100 in just to give you an idea, but you can go twice that, three times that.

Whatever you determine, as jurors, is the most, the best way to express the loss here to these folks.

The [00:34:00] impression that one would have from watching Jack’s testimony during the trial, and of course from watching the film Take Care of Maya, is that he was fully supportive of Maya’s treatments and that his and Beata’s marriage was incredibly solid until the interference of the state and the hospital.

Jack claims that it was the social worker, Kathy Beatty, who recommended that he divorce Beata, and he acted pretty affronted by this suggestion. And he also told Detective Stephanie Graham that if it came to it, he would choose his kids over her. He claims that he said this because this was the only acceptable answer he could give.

Which, honestly, fair enough. That is perfectly plausible. I think that many parents would feel like they would say whatever they needed to say in this situation. It is undoubtedly a terrible spot to be in where you feel like you have to choose between your children and your spouse. And, During his interview with the police detective who arrived at the [00:35:00] house upon the discovery of Beata’s body, Jack said that yes, they’d been stressed because of everything that had been going on, but that he and Beata had remained a united front.

This whole thing, did it put a strain on your marriage? Oh, definitely, you know, it’s Yeah, but we stick together, I mean. Gotcha, okay. However, Beata’s brother, Peter, who, sadly, was the one to make the gruesome discovery of her body in the garage, told a very different story about the state of their marriage.

He, for one, did not feel that Jack’s intention to divorce Beata was a show that he was putting on for the courts. Did he ever give her divorce papers? You just don’t know. What it is, my oldest sister said that this was basically multiple instances. He was pressuring her. And basically what it is, During the court hearing, he, without letting her know, he took the coyote and without letting her know, he took the coyote and they drove, took their suitcases, they actually went to [00:36:00] his brother.

The circumstances around Beata’s death have always seemed off to me. And a lot more about what happened that day and in the days leading up to it has now emerged. And like everything with this case, the more I pull at the threads, the stranger it gets. So let me bring you back to over here last night. So you get here after midnight.

Mm hmm. Who opens the door for you? The door opened after I called, Jacek opened the door after I called security because he did not open the door. And I called him a hundred times. That’s next time on Nobody Should Believe Me.

This episode was written and produced by me, Andrea Dunlop. Sound engineering from Andrew Kindred, administrative support from Nola Karmouche, and additional support from the fine folks at [00:37:00] Cadence3.

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Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 01SistersWe meet accomplished novelist and loving mother Andrea Dunlop as she embarks on a journey to understand the series of events that tore her family apart. We learn that her older sister has been investigated twice...

Who is Hope?

Who is Hope?

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 02Who is Hope?We delve deeper into the story of Hope Ybarra, a young mother whose family discovers she’s been faking her eight-year-long battle with terminal cancer and begins to suspect her own health isn’t all she’s...

What’s in the Water in Tarrant County?

What’s in the Water in Tarrant County?

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 03What’s in the Water in Tarrant County Andrea speaks to Deanna Boyd, the crime reporter who broke the Hope Ybarra case and discovers that Hope's was one of many Munchausen By Proxy cases in Tarrant County that Deanna...

Nobody Would Believe Me
Season 01 | Episode 04

Nobody Would Believe Me

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 04Nobody Would Believe MeAs we learn from Detective Mike Weber, the father in a Munchausen by Proxy case can be the most important ally--or the biggest obstacle--in protecting child victims from abuse.  Andrea gets...

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

Nobody Would Believe Me (Part Two)

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 05Nobody Would Believe Me (Part 2)As we learn from Detective Mike Weber, the father in a Munchausen by Proxy case can be the most important ally--or the biggest obstacle--in protecting child victims from abuse. In part...

The Blast Zone
Season 01 | Episode 6

The Blast Zone

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 06The Blast ZoneAs Andrea contemplates what the future looks like for survivors of Munchausen by Proxy, she gets an unexpected message from two young women who’ve lived it. After appearing with Marc Feldman on a podcast,...

Can They Be Saved?
Season 01 | Episode 07

Can They Be Saved?

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 07Can They Be Saved?Andrea delves deep into her questions around the psychopathology of Munchausen by Proxy perpetrators. Floored by the similarities in the many cases she’s researched: she talks to two of the world's...

There’s Hope
Season 01 | Episode 08

There’s Hope

Share this episodeSEASON 01 | EPISODE 08There's HopeAndrea has made an intense connection with Hope Ybarra's family, and asked experts, doctors, and the detective so many of her burning questions about Munchausen by Proxy. But she's become increasingly...

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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...

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Season 02 | Episode 03

Where There’s Smoke

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 03Where There's SmokeDetective Mike Weber dives into the digital rabbit hole of Brittany’s online activity and makes a discovery so shocking it turns his investigation on its head and reveals the depths of depravity...

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Season 02 | Episode 04

All In

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 04All InIn this season of Nobody Should Believe Me, we've heard from Sheriff Bill and Laura Waybourn about their concern for Alyssa- who was a distant family member of theirs. Now, we take some time to get to know this...

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Season 02 | Episode 05


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

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 06The TrialYears after being separated from her daughter Alyssa, the Brittany Phillips case finally heads to trial. Dawn Ferguson, the prosecutor on the case elucidates the challenges of convincing a jury that a mother...

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Season 02 | Episode 07


Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 07MeganIn 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...

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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...

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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...

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Season 02 | Episode 10

Everything Everything Everything

Share this episodeSEASON 02 | EPISODE 10Everything Everything EverythingIn 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...

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

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

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 01Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release) Warning: This content includes references to suicide and child abuse. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is available. Call or text...

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 02


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...

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

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 04


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...

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

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

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

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

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 10

The Verdict Part 2

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 10The Verdict Part 2Andrea checks in with lawyer and trial consultant Jonathan Leach hours after the Kowalski verdict comes down. They talk about the judge’s decision to disallow testimony from the defense on medical...

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

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

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
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 turns out it might only be beginning. In this episode, lead attorney for the Johns Hopkins All Childrens defense...

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

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

Special Report: Watching Take Care of Maya (re-release)
Season 03 | Episode 16

Bad Press (Season Finale: Part 2)

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 16Bad Press (Season Finale: Part 2)In the second part of our exclusive interview with Dr. Sally Smith, we discuss how the media coverage of her reached a fever pitch and turned her life and career upside down. We explore...

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

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

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