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'Munchausen Mom' Case: Daughter Says She Was Never Abused

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Family photo provided by Jennifer Bush

A Florida woman who was taken from her mother nearly 20 years ago in a high-profile Munchausen syndrome by proxy case that captured national attention says her mother never abused her.

Jennifer Bush, now 27, was separated from her parents and brothers in 1995 and placed in foster care amid allegations that her mother, Kathy Bush, who sought help from Washington to help pay for her mounting medical bills, deliberately made her young daughter so ill that Jennifer was hospitalized over 200 times and underwent about 40 unnecessary operations by the time she was 8.

At the time, prosecutors said Jennifer was the victim of Munchausen syndrome, an uncommon form of child abuse where a primary caregiver makes a child sick in order to get attention. Kathy was found guilty of aggravated child abuse and fraud in 1999 and spent some three years in state prison but was never diagnosed with Munchausen.

“Jennifer made it very clear: She thinks her mother never abused her,” lawyer Robert Buschel told the Sun Sentinel.

In a written statement to the newspaper, the now-married Jennifer says her family has “flourished despite the devastating separation.”

“Today, I can proudly say my family is extremely close-knit,” she wrote. “The bond I had with my brothers, prior to being removed from my family, is something that never changed. My relationship with them helped carry me through my years in foster care. My parents and I have picked up from where we left off, and have a very close and loving relationship.”

Jennifer admits her life changed forever on April 15, 1995, the day she was taken away from her family.

“That was the day that I was taken from my home and my family, but that day has not changed how close my family continues to be,” she wrote. “The 10 years I spent in foster care were traumatic, and I had some devastating things happen to me. However, I persevered because of all of the angels that were there for me during these difficult times. These people helped shaped the woman I have become today,” she wrote.

Her traumatic experience in foster care, she says, made her decide to become a social worker.

“Today, I am living my dream as a social worker and changing the lives of the children and families I am working with today. I am married to my high school sweetheart, who has walked along side me for the past 10 years. I get a lot of joy making memories with my family, and making a difference in my community. Although this isn’t always a happy anniversary, it is a day to celebrate my family and who we are today.”

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