For three weeks, Violet Hinrichs turned to Facebook to post prayer requests for her sick son.
"The child was in the hospital for observations of seizures and apnea. As part of that, he was on a video monitoring system," Tampa Police's Andrea Davis said Wednesday.
But when the staff at St. Joseph's Hospital started to notice bruising around the child's neck, they immediately called police. Detectives sifted through those hospital's medical observation videos and were shocked by what they saw at the time of the seizures.
"Every time the child had one of these episodes, the suspect in this case was either holding the child or hovering over the child," Davis said.
Police say the video shows the 19-year old mom squeezing her son to the point that he flailed his arms, turned blue, and became unresponsive. They say it caused the child's heart rate and brain waves to drop to dangerous levels.
Hinrich's sister can't believe it.
"She's always been good with the baby. I've never seen her hit him, yell at him, nothing. So this is kind of overwhelming," Tiffany Coffey said Wednesday.
Coffey says Hinrichs is disabled. She says her sister always wanted to be around the baby, and thinks she may suffer from Munchhousen Syndrome by proxy.
FOX 13's Dr. Joette Giovinco says the National Institute of Health classifies the psychological condition as child abuse.
"It's a huge problem, because this is a form of abuse and the moms can be inflicting some sort of disease or symptoms on their child to make them look sick," Giovinco said Wednesday.
Police say Hinrichs admitted to the acts, leaving family with more questions than answers.
"I don't know why she would do this. I don't understand how any human could do that to a child," Coffey said.
Hinrichs is now facing four counts of aggravated child abuse. The child is in the custody of the Department of Children & Families. It's unknown if the little boy have any permanent health problems.
Pasco County Child Protective Investigators had been called out to Hinrichs' home in the past.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?