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Friday, May 15, 1998
Indicted mother to have visits with children
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A woman diagnosed with a disorder causing
mothers to injure their children to get attention won't be spending
weekends alone with her newborn baby after all.
State District Judge David Peeples overturned his earlier decision
allowing Cynthia Lyda, 31, and her husband, Paul Lyda, to have
unsupervised weekend visits with their month-old son Benjamin.
The baby was taken from the couple by state social workers
hours after his birth April 6. Ms. Lyda then was allowed to see
the baby only for an hour each week under close supervision.
The state alleges Ms. Lyda is afflicted with Munchausen's Syndrome
by Proxy. The rare disorder causes mothers and others to injure
children in order to gain admiration as devoted caregivers.
Ms. Lyda and her husband contend she does not have the disorder
and that her children's medical troubles were because of a genetic
Peeples permitted the Lydas to have unsupervised visits following
four days of testimony in a temporary custody hearing last week.
But on Wednesday, Peeples revoked his earlier order and denounced
state attorneys for withholding "significant, critical evidence"
during the custody hearing.
Not until Tuesday did the judge learn about previous testimony
from a doctor who first became suspicious of Ms. Lyda.
"Whatever may be the state's reasons for presenting a
skeleton case, this court is unwilling to decide such an important
child-safety matter without the benefit of all the evidence,"
Ms. Lyda is charged in a six-count federal indictment with
injury to a child and child endangerment. The indictment was handed
up four years after Ms. Lyda was captured on videotape by a hidden
hospital camera blowing into her then 8-month-old son's feeding
That child and his two brothers now live with their father,
Ms. Lyda's ex-husband, in Arizona.
Benjamin and his 16-month-old brother, Gideon, who was removed
from the Lyda household as an infant, are living together in a
foster home in the San Antonio area.
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