Nobody Should Believe Me S02

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SEASON 02 | EPISODE 03

Where There’s Smoke

Detective 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 offenders are capable of.

Meanwhile, the fight to protect Alyssa ramps up and we meet Sheriff Bill Waybourn—a towering Texan lawman with a huge heart and an iconic mustache. He and his wife Laura will become a beacon of hope in Alyssa’s life as she changes the course of their family forever.

Listen on: Apple | Spotify

Show Notes

Host Andrea Dunlop:

https://www.andreadunlop.net

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

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

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

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

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

Transcript

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

Andrea: What would you say to people that are having a really hard time processing this idea that a mother would be capable of doing this to her child?

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: The first thing that I would ask that person is one. Do you believe that evil can walk boldly among us? And then the second thing is, is please have an open heart and an open mind, and look at the evidence.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: Let the evidence lead you to a conclusion. Because in Alyssa’s case, we can take you down an evidentiary trail that is overwhelming [00:01:00] in most of these cases where we see a, a child that can’t walk or can’t feed themselves, and all of a sudden you take that child away from that parent and separate them, and all of a sudden they can walk, they can eat by mouth.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: They didn’t need the feeding tube, they didn’t need all the medications. They’re not allergic to all the food. Uh, in Texas and investigations, often we say this where there’s a little smoke, there might be some fire.

Andrea: 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.

Andrea: I’m Andrea Dunlap, and this is Nobody Should Believe me. At the top of the episode you heard from Sheriff. Bill Wayburn, the sheriff is an incredible guy and. He really looks like whatever it is that might come to mind when you picture a Texas sheriff, he’s about six four. He wears a 10 [00:02:00] gallon hat and a big belt buckle, and he has a very spectacular mustache.

Andrea: He and his wife Laura. Who we’ve also heard from in a previous episode are a really big part of this story, and as you’ll remember, they are actually relatives of Britney Phillips. So now we’re gonna go back to Detective Mike Webber, who’s gonna catch us up on where the investigation into Britney Phillips stands at this moment.

Detective Mike: This is a nine month investigation from the time it was reported to the time of Britney’s arrest. So you’re looking at an extensive time period. Right. Uh, even though Alyssa was three, her medical records were extensive. The sheriff, I think he said there was half a bookcase full of medical records.

Andrea: And I mean, I have a three-year-old and other than her child, well visit.

Andrea: Which are just the scheduled pediatrician. You bring ’em in, you bring ’em in a lot when they’re really little, and then you bring ’em in every six months and every year. Other than those, I count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken my daughter to the doctor.

Detective Mike: Right. Other than [00:03:00] just normal stuff.

Andrea: Right. So you continued to interview Brit’s friends. The

Detective Mike: group from What to Expect later transitioned into, into a Facebook group. They all moved over to Facebook and you know, this is when social media was just starting to take off. And I also interviewed Scarlet Weathers. Um, Scarlet Weathers was moderator of that group and she had issues with Britney and she said the same thing that the other said that there would be these times where her child was worse off than anyone else’s.

Detective Mike: When everyone would post something, she was always right after ’em posting her child’s sicker and she’d actually. Unfriended Brittany from Facebook. Then after re friending her, she saw posts from the hospital suddenly started popping up again. Again, I interviewed these people. This all just leads into more evidence for the Facebook more.

Andrea: Keep in mind that this case is taking place in 2009, and although social media existed back then and people were online quite a bit, much, much less than they are today. So this was really one of the [00:04:00] first cases that Detective Mike Webber worked on where. Person’s online life really came into play. But now these are really considered a very central part of these investigations, and there are people who perpetrate munchhausen by proxy and munchhausen behaviors only online.

Andrea: So that is a term that. Dr. Mark Feldman, who we spoke to last season, coined munchhausen by internet. So some of these things are only happening

online, but a lot of perpetrators who commit these crimes in real life with their real children will use these social media tools, online forums, support groups.

Andrea: They’ll infiltrate groups that are dedicated to parents with a child with a specific condition, or just sick children in general. And this has really become a method for them to gain attention. And I think this is something that. We all understand that social media, and especially, you know, during the pandemic social media, was really the only way that we had to connect with each other.

Andrea: And so that is something that is a [00:05:00] really powerful tool, unfortunately, in the hands of a perpetrator. I sat down with Susan Rele, who again was the c p s supervisor on this case, to talk about how important it is for CPS and law enforcement to work together in these investigations.

Susan Rial: Now, law enforcement, i e.

Susan Rial: Detective Weber would always work with us because law enforcement can get things that CPS p s can’t get, and CPS p s can get things that law enforcement can’t get.

Andrea: Yes. So can you talk a little bit about why that team approach is so important?

Susan Rial: Well, CPS p s number one doesn’t have to mirandize anyone when they’re questioning them.

Andrea: For context, Mirandizing someone means reading them their Miranda rights. So if you’ve ever watched any cop drama, you will have seen this. This is when someone gets arrested and the officer says to them, you have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. Anything you say can and will be used against you, et cetera.

Andrea: So cops have to do this when they are detaining or arresting someone, and CPS does not. So cps therefore can seem a lot less. Threatening [00:06:00] and potentially get parents to be more open and cooperative in their conversations.

Susan Rial: And we’re social workers, which investigators? Very few investigators are social workers.

Susan Rial: We can schmooze. We’re not scary, especially in the medical abuse cases. There’s no way in heck they’re gonna say they did anything wrong.

They’re, they got talk to all their friends. They’re such good mothers and they take such, they’re bless their hearts. So they’re not scared of us. But law enforcement, they can subpoena medical records.

Susan Rial: A lot of these medical abuse mothers, they’re not gonna sign a waiver to release. They’re medical information to us, but law enforcement can get a subpoena,

Andrea: and that is what Mike Webber was doing. Mike was in the process of digging through these voluminous medical records along with Dr. Jamie Kaufman, who is the child abused pediatrician at.

Andrea: Cook Children’s where this is all happening. You may remember her from last season and just to remind you, in this medical record review, they’re not just looking for a pattern of [00:07:00] illness or mysterious medical happenings. They’re looking for evidence of deception. They found plenty. And when you say Britney was fabricating symptoms, you mean

Detective Mike: she was fabricating medical history?

Detective Mike: The doctors in order to get the feeding tube place.

Andrea: So she was making essentially false reports to the doctor when she was seeing the doctor. She was claiming that Alyssa had symptoms at home that she was not actually having. Correct. And that’s one thing. But then what you discovered was that she was actually.

Andrea: Inducing symptoms so that there were things to observe. In fact, it was just that she was the cause of them. Correct.

Detective Mike: And the induction case gives us a better legal path, right? Because now we have her actually doing something to Alyssa, whereas she’s tricking doctors into doing it,

Andrea: and there isn’t that.

Andrea: Nuance there of, oh, this is maybe a sort of hypochondriac moment, or this is a nervous mom, or this is a mom who’s [00:08:00] confused about what’s happening. It’s really a lot more straightforward than that, I would imagine.

Detective Mike: It becomes very clearly abuse to almost anyone that views it at that point.

Andrea: At this point in time, Alyssa was still at Cook’s where she’d been originally admitted for dehydration, and then while there had developed a mysterious and very rare blood infection, and this, along with Britney’s bizarre behavior while they were at the hospital together, really raised alarms for doctors.

Andrea: We spoke to Don Ferguson, one of the prosecutors on the case,

Beatrice Yorker: Britney Phillips was unique because what she did to Alyssa. She kind of covered all of the, what I would call the standard red flags of munch housen. It started when she was young. She said she wasn’t eating, they got the feeding tube. She went to the feeding specialist and we learn from the evidence we had that when she gets to cook, she gets on the wireless.

Beatrice Yorker: And you know, when you log onto the hospital [00:09:00] wifi, you have to click, I accept, and then anything you search while you’re at that hospital is saved. And so we were able to actually get the records of what she was searching for when she was doing. Internet searches and we actually had Google search terms that said she was searching for poop and feeding tube feces and feeding tube.

Beatrice Yorker: What happens if you. Put poop in a feeding tube, things like that.

Andrea: Detective Mike at this time was still very focused on getting evidence about the feeding tube surgery, but he was able to get a search warrant for Britney’s computer and he was shocked by what he

Detective Mike: found. I’m looking for one thing and then all of a sudden this leads me in in a totally different direction and it was a good lesson for me to expect the unexpected.

Detective Mike: I had no clue she was doing this to her child. I had no clue she was putting feces in her child’s feeding tube and IV line. Until this happened, and if you, again, I [00:10:00] think it’s a good lesson to detectives. If you don’t look, you don’t know, and if you have probable cause to look on these cases, especially, you need

Andrea: to look, I’ve researched a lot of munchhausen by proxy cases at this point, and these cases are always horrifying.

Andrea: But this particular detail about this particular case is just so

Detective Mike: stunning. I, I can say in my 37, almost 38 years as a police officer, I’ve never come across this at that point in time, right? I’ve never come across a mother putting feces into her child’s IV line. I doubt that very many police officers ever have, very many detectives ever have, regardless of their experience level.

Detective Mike: It has happened in other cases in other states, but it’s, it’s extremely out of the norm, even for these cases, even for a cases seasoned child abuse detective. Right? Obviously now we’re headed down another path. Now we have her computer that shows that she’s possibly putting something into her child, and [00:11:00] we have to explore that path.

Andrea: All forms of this abuse are serious and should be taken seriously, but you do have this sort of spectrum of behaviors that can go from exaggerating existing symptoms to fabricating symptoms to actually inducing. Something that could potentially be deadly. So this is very far along the right, but I

Detective Mike: think this case also demonstrates that you don’t know where they’re at on that spectrum until you look at all the evidence, right?

Detective Mike: I mean, because I thought she was fabricating, but yet here we find evidence that she was actually inducing. It can be anywhere on that spectrum at any time and can skip to any area of that spectrum

Andrea: at any time. Yeah. So it’s not like it’s this, It’s not a step. It’s not this path where you just like can figure out, okay, they’re a three outta 10 or what have you.

Andrea: Right. It can be any or all. Everyone in Britney’s life had observed that she appeared to be starving Alyssa, which was the reason that Mike got so focused on the feeding tube. But as he said, these behaviors can be all going on at the same time. And that was the case [00:12:00] with Britney. In addition to the really disturbing Google searches that they found on her computer, they found something else.

Andrea: Which was that Britney had right before making those Google searches, she had visited a true crime forum and read about a mother in Texas who was caught on video surveillance, putting feces in her child’s feeding tube. Once Mike made these discoveries, he realized that this was really going to be at the heart of.

Andrea: Of the case and he took it back to the attorney working on it, and I told him we

Detective Mike: needed to meet with Dr. Mark Maze, who was the infectious disease doctor that I had pretty much ignored at the beginning of the, of the investigation, other than to get an affidavit saying that he thought this was, was medical child abuse.

Andrea: Had he seen a medical child abuse case

Detective Mike: before? Uh, he had maybe seen one. I don’t know that he, he had been the prosecutor on one, but, you know, it’s still, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. But I mean, he went to the meeting with an open mind, which is so important in these cases. We met with Dr. Maze, and you know, [00:13:00] I ask him what I, what I tell detectives, you never ask a doctor, is it possible because anything’s possible to a doctor?

Detective Mike: All right. It’s medicine’s very different than police work. We’re very black and white medicine’s very gray. I asked Dr. Maid in your 14 years as an infectious disease, Pediatrician. How many times have you seen these three elements in a child’s blood strep variance, staph areas, and e coli and Dr. Maade said never.

Detective Mike: Not one time in my 14 years. That’s what I wanted in the affidavit. Then I asked him, you’ll put on a black hat for a minute. If someone was going to induce this, how would they get those three pathogens into a child? He’s like, well, a strep and staph are skin born. E coli is poop born. So what makes the most sense is Alyssa went poop in her diaper and mom removed poop that had rubbed against her skin and placed it in the IV line or the feeding tube.

Detective Mike: It

Andrea: could have been either. [00:14:00] It’s re it’s really gr it’s really grim. It’s, I, I’ve, I’ve heard and read about this case so many times, and yet when I actually stop to picture it. And when you sort of describe the likely series of events, I mean, it’s really, disturbing is not the, even the word depraved, I think is the word.

Andrea: And

Detective Mike: again, uh, with just like with hope, you borrow. You never know where these cases are going to lead you. You just don’t know, and you have to have the open mind to to pursue it. If you try to put it in a box, you’re not gonna get the full picture of abuse.

Andrea: The series of events during Alyssa’s stay at the hospital in August of 2011, the mysterious blood infection she developed. The strange behavior from her mother and the previous reports on Britney led up to cps PS taking affidavits from the doctors and [00:15:00] getting an emergency removal. So CPS is only able to do this when they feel that there’s an imminent threat to the child.

Andrea: And in this case, they did. I spoke to Susan Rle to explain how this process works.

Susan Rial: We got the removal within a short period of time because we got enough affidavits from the doctors. We still hadn’t. More to gather and we did get more so and

Andrea: affidavits from the doctor saying there are, we think there’s

Susan Rial: abuse going on, or yes, signed, notarized, official legal binding statements that here’s what I’ve got.

Susan Rial: And it has to say, if the child is in the parent’s care, they’re at risk of significant harm. Or maybe death, what? However they wanna word that. However it’s appropriate. So there’s serious affidavits of fact. We were able to get the removal approved by our assistant district attorneys prior to going to court.

Susan Rial: That’s an emergency removal. Of course, Britney was not happy. She screamed and cried and [00:16:00] and said, no, you’re not. No you’re not. Wouldn’t sign any paperwork. But the upside of doing a removal, Cook Children’s is they have security so they can walk, you know, the parents out and had that done many, many times and that’s what’s so hard is separating the child from the parent.

Susan Rial: Because that’s the only way you can show and demonstrate to the court whether civil, criminal, whatever, that what the parent’s been doing is abusive and you know, fictive

Andrea: because of the seriousness of the situation. Alyssa had been removed from Britney’s care during the course of the August, 2011 hospitals stay where she developed the blood infection.

Andrea: And Alyssa’s behavior after the removal was telling,

Susan Rial: within a day, like the next day, she was happy talking, eating chicken nuggets and french fries, having no problem eating. She had problems when they wanted, when they, the nurse came in or they needed to do any medical procedure, like a shot or do anything.

Susan Rial: Now she [00:17:00] knew. They mentioned medical people mentioned that she knew a lot about medical care more than a three year old would normally know.

Andrea: Yeah. I have a three-year-old and she other than other than Daniel, tiger goes to the doctor. Yes.

Susan Rial: She doesn’t have any medical knowledge. Yeah. She knew blood pressure, blood tests, all of that and medication, but she didn’t like it.

Susan Rial: She would scream and have a fit whenever they were gonna do anything she was eating. Running around with no braces or anything. Very happy when the worker first went to visit her. Now, one thing when we, when we removed the parent from the scene and a child’s still hospitalized, we try and we typically would make sure that someone was with them all the time.

Susan Rial: We had kind of a rotating list of workers, friends of the hospital, different people that would to make sure someone’s with them all the time. And she did very well.

Andrea: You know, I have a three year old. Mm-hmm. And if she was separated from me mm-hmm. Under those circumstances, she would be beside herself.

Susan Rial: No.

Susan Rial: No. This was not the case. And [00:18:00] as a matter of fact, Alyssa was one of the least bothered of a lot of the kids I worked with when her mother was taken away. I just can’t help but feel that she was really cognizant that it wasn’t

Andrea: right. Detective Mike Weber noticed the same thing.

Detective Mike: I mean, with Alyssa, it was pretty much the minute of separation.

Detective Mike: This child had a will. I don’t know where she got it from, but man, um, I think this child scavenged for food at night, I think that’s what she had to do to survive at a very young age. She got a survival instinct that I, I don’t know where it came from. Yeah, thank God she had it, but I really don’t know where it came from.

Detective Mike: She was looking to upgrade at the parent position from the moment she was removed.

Andrea: Yeah. It just seems like this kid was like, get me out of here. Like I’m, yeah, this is not my family. I’m gonna go with this family. Like this is not, I want something better in life.

Detective Mike: And she knew it

Andrea: at three. Alyssa’s Health started to improve immediately after being separated from Britney, but [00:19:00] still the doctors wanted to be cautious, and so they found a temporary placement for her with a foster mother who had experience as a nurse practitioner.

Andrea: And just to remind you, the point of these investigations is not to prove whether or not a child has any ailments at all, but to determine if the parent has been lying to the doctors and has harmed their child. In the process, Alyssa’s initial foster parent also noted how she did not really seem to be very attached to Britney at all, and she would say things like, I don’t need my mommy anymore and I’m not sick anymore.

Andrea: When her foster mother would show her pictures of Britney. In the meantime, CPS was looking for a more long-term placement.

Susan Rial: Immediately the waves came to us because another thing Brittany did was she was telling. Everybody what had happened,

Andrea: what had happened with C, the CPS removal.

Susan Rial: Yes. That we’d removed.

Susan Rial: She was texting everyone she ever knew. It was on Facebook. She was texting relatives wherever they lived, whatever state they lived in [00:20:00] because it so much attention. She was a, just craved that attention, however she could get it.

Andrea: So it was sort of a poor me drama. For me. I’m the victim. Me. Yes. And that’s so

Susan Rial: typical.

Susan Rial: It’s really, I would be hunkered down thinking, what the heck can I do to get my child back? I’m ashamed. I’m humiliated. I’m not gonna tell anybody. Yeah. Maybe family, maybe close family. She told everyone she knew and so we, and, and gave us a whole huge list of names for collateral contacts to call about her and relatives.

Susan Rial: Of course, she was looking for a relative placement, but a relative. Got in touch with Ms. Wayburn, who. They’re related by marriage, kind of distantly, but thank God so instantly, you know, they were on our radar. We instigated a home study because they, once we take custody of a child, CPS takes custody of a child.

Susan Rial: We can’t just stick them anywhere. [00:21:00] You know, they’re, we’re legally, ethically responsible for the care and safety of that child.

Andrea: Faith, who is Britney’s cousin and also the niece of Sheriff and Laura Wayburn was in the closest communication with Britney during this time

Faith: when she finally took her to Cooks when she was really sick and the whole incident with the, you know, feces in the feeding tube or whatever.

Faith: Britney had actually called my mom and said, they’re taking her away from me. CPS is taking her away from me. Would you take her? And my mom said, well, Brittany, you know, I’m older. I don’t really think that I’m able to care for a child, especially a child that has medical issues like this. And then she was like, well, do you think Faith would take her?

Faith: So my mom called me and asked me and I was like, well, you can tell her to call me. So I immediately called Laura and I was like, this is what’s going on. Like, you know, they finally, I think they’ve caught her.

Andrea: Here’s Laura and Bill Wayburn.

Laura Waybourn: Our niece, faith had been contacted by Britney [00:22:00] whenever Alyssa had been removed from her.

Laura Waybourn: And Faith reached out to me basically looking for whether Bill and I would be willing to take Alyssa. Um, she knew that I would be so relieved and I was, I just remember thinking. Finally, finally, she has been

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: rescued. She and I had talked about that there were some things not right in that relationship between Britney and Alyssa, that there were some things going on, so we weren’t surprised.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: We were actually thankful that this had happened. Something had happened where Alyssa was safe and she was being taken care of. And that Britney was being separated from her. So from that standpoint, we were excited for Alyssa, I think would be what I was, is that, okay, now we’re gonna get somewhere. Maybe because we knew how difficult this was going to be, both from a CPS perspective and a criminal perspective.

Faith: Then as I was talking to Laura more about it, Laura’s like, well, if you don’t want to take her, because I know you already have five kids, [00:23:00] and if you don’t want to, we’ll definitely take her. If you can get Brittany to agree to that, we’ll take her. I was like, yeah, sure. You know? Cause I knew she’d be going to a great place if she went with Bill Moore.

Faith: So I talked to Brittany, and Brittany was kind of hesitant at first. She’s like, I don’t know. I don’t really know them and all of that. And I’m like, you know, just talking to her what great people they are and how she’ll be safe and she’ll get all the medical care she needs and she’ll be well taken care of.

Faith: And so she finally agreed. So during this process, Laura and I would talk.

Laura Waybourn: It brought me such comfort to know that she was under doctor’s care, because I just thought, well, you know, surely one of these doctors will catch it and, and be able to do something about it. Little did I know, you know, how many doctors had tried or how many, you know, how many cases there had been.

Laura Waybourn: I was astounded whenever I, you know, saw

Andrea: the whole record over the course of Alyssa’s life. Britney had been reported to CPS PS numerous [00:24:00] times, including by several doctors

with concerns about medical child abuse. After Alyssa was placed with the way Burns faith kept lines of communication with her cousin Brittany Open.

Faith: I told Brittany, I was like, you know, I need to know what her medical issues are and I. So can you text me like, what doctor is she seeing? Can you text me what her allergies are? Can you, you know, I need a list of all of these things that are wrong with her. So she was just texting, like she goes to this doctor and she has a feeding tube and uh, she’s allergic to chocolate and she’s allergic to dairy and she’s allergic to this and this and this and this.

Faith: I mean, just these lists of things. And then, so I would tell Laura all of these things and we would talk, and then that’s when I got a phone call from Mike Webber and he said that they were going to. Prosecute her, and so I took my phone down to Mike and he pulled. All the text messages off of my phone so that he would have those as evidence of what that she was saying to me.

Laura Waybourn: All I can say about that is Mike is a hero, [00:25:00] and I don’t care what he says, he’s a hero. I, I don’t, I can’t say what would’ve happened, but I know without him, this case would have not ended the way that it was.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn: Well, Mike Webber’s quite the champion of, uh, many, many families. And of course, uh, In my opinion, he has saved several children

Andrea: like the way Burns I know Mike really well, and it’s true that he objects to being called a hero. He always insists that he’s just doing his job. This is my podcast and I’m inclined to agree with the way Burns and in fact, hero is on Mike’s resume. He was awarded in 2016 the National Center for Missing Unex Exploited Children’s, Texas Hero for Children Award.

Andrea: So there, but Mike’s not the only hero in this story.

Laura Waybourn: The phrase that she had was, mom and Brittany didn’t take care of me like a little girl is supposed to be taken care of. Knowing that and then replacing it with this is how you’re supposed to be taken care of,

Andrea: that’s next time on. Nobody [00:26:00] should believe me.

Andrea: If you would like to support the show, you can join us over on Patreon or subscribe on Apple Plus, and you will get all episodes early and ad free as well as lots of exclusive bonus content if monetary support is not an option.

Rating and reviewing the show is a tremendous help as well as sharing the show with friends on social media and elsewhere.

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

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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 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

Tangled

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

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Season 02 | Episode 06

The Trial

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

Megan

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...

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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

Shelter

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

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Season 03 | Episode 03

In a Heartbeat

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

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Season 03 | Episode 04

Retaliation

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

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Season 03 | Episode 05

The Women

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

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Season 03 | Episode 06

The Believers Part 1

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

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Season 03 | Episode 07

The Believers Part 2

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

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Season 03 | Episode 08

Trial of the Century

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

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Season 03 | Episode 09

The Verdict

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

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Season 03 | Episode 10

The Verdict Part 2

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...

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Season 03 | Episode 11

Star Witness

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

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Season 03 | Episode 12

System Override

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

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Season 03 | Episode 13

What Now?

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

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Season 03 | Episode 14

Media Circus

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

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Season 03 | Episode 15

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

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

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Season 03 | Episode 16

Bad Press (Season Finale: Part 2)

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...

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Season 03 | Episode 17

Dangerous Women (Season Finale: Part 3)

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

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SEASON 03 | EPISODE 18

What Jack Knew

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

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Season 03 | Episode 19

What Happened to Beata?

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

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Season 03 | Episode 20

Kowalski Case Update with Ethen Shapiro

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

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