Westchester Medical Center
Courtesy Westchester Medical Center
02/19/2014 at 02:00 PM EST
The death of a 5-year-old New York boy whose mother chronicled his hospitalization and subsequent death on social media is being investigated by police.
Lacey Spears, 26, a single mom and former nursing student, had written about her son Garnett's lifelong struggle with health issues on Twitter
, Facebook and a blog
, but after she brought him into Nyack Hospital in mid-January with what appeared to be a stomach virus and his condition worsened and he transferred to Westchester Medical Center, doctors called the police, the Journal News
Investigators were told that the little boy had dangerously high levels of sodium in his system. While the stomach flu can lead to dehydration that results in elevated sodium levels, the concern was that there have been previous cases of parents deliberately poisoning their children with salt.
According to the Journal News
, while Spears wrote on Facebook that her son couldn't "hold his head up and roll over without screaming, without pain," Westchester police obtained a search warrant and seized food items, her computer and a cell phone from her home in the Fellowship Community, where she and her son had lived for about a year.
Spears's Twitter account mentions that her son was in hospital for the 23rd time
back in 2009, and an assistant administrator of the Fellowship Community said that the little boy suffered chronic ear infections and dietary problems.
On Jan. 20, Spears wrote five posts about her son's condition, including one about his sodium level, and continued to update friends and family. Two days later, the Journal News
reports that she shared the devastating news that her "sweet baby boy Garnett has been declared brain dead. It can't even be possible. That's my baby boy. I'm not ready to let him go."
In a follow-up post she wrote, "Some time tomorrow I will make the decision to remove his life support." And on Jan. 23 she wrote, "Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m."
Police have interviewed residents and workers at the Fellowship and are awaiting toxicology test results, but have not arrested anyone in connection with the boy's death.
Spears, who went to Kentucky to be with her family, has hired a defense lawyer, who said
that she is "absolutely devastated by the loss of her son."
"Lacey did nothing to harm him. She loved him and did everything she could to care for him and protect him," her sister Rebecca Spears said.
that Garnett "was a kid that didn't let you walk past him without saying hello … You could be having the worst day in the world, and he was still going to talk to you. By the time he was done, you'd be smiling."