Macclenny mom guilty of poisoning infant faces 45 years

Shauna Taylor, who has mental illness, to be sentenced in October

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 40-year-old Macclenny woman was found guilty of aggravated child abuse and child neglect after she poisoned her prematurely born infant, causing liver failure for the girl, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Investigators found that, in 2013, Shauna Dee Taylor poisoned the child by giving her Tylenol at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville and inside their Baker County home. 

"It was back in 2013, she had met a boyfriend here in Macclenny and that’s how she moved here with her child," said Baker County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Tracie Benton, the lead detective on the case, told News4Jax on Friday. 

According to prosecutors,Taylor gave birth to a premature child in Nov. 2012. Days after the child was treated and released to Taylor's care in Feb. 2013, Taylor returned to the hospital with the infant on three occasions.

Each hospital visit included exaggerated or falsified symptoms of the child's health. During the third hospital visit, the infant went into liver failure.

While the child was receiving treatment, several anonymous tips were made to the child abuse hotline claiming Taylor had Munchausen by proxy (MBPS) and was abusing the infant. The tips also pointed to Taylor's Facebook page, which guided visitors to a fundraising site for her child.

"I worked the case, spoke with her, she was something special. You could tell right off the whip, something was wrong," Benton said. "She had a GoFundMe page and I believe there was another website where she was posting the baby’s picture, medical issues and trying to get people to donate money."

Authorities said they later learned Taylor was poisoning the baby inside the hospital.

"While the child was admitted to the hospital she would be there with the child and while she was there she would administer the Tylenol to continue the abuse," Benton said. 

Ultrasounds of the girl's liver showed abnormalities, and blood tests turned up the high levels of iron. Authorities said Taylor was informed of the results and the child's iron levels and liver function returned to normal on their own while under hospital observation. 

MBPS, a mental illness also known as “medical child abuse,” is a rare form of child abuse or neglect caused by a primary caregiver who falsifies, exaggerates or induces a child’s illness, leading to unnecessary and potentially harmful medical treatment.

Investigators also learned Taylor had a history of medical child abuse with her nine other children. Her parental rights for each child were revoked.

"It was the greatest feeling ever -- justice is being served. She is being punished for torturing children," Benton said. "Someone has to speak up for the children, and I am just so happy that this has happened."

Taylor faces a maximum of 45 years in prison. She's scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Benton said, last she heard, the girl is doing well.

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