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COA upholds mother’s neglect conviction for causing son’s health issues

July 21, 2016

The Indiana Court of Appeals, acknowledging differing expert testimony in a mother’s neglect of a dependent case, declined to reweigh the evidence and upheld her Class B felony conviction.

Mikel An Krueger had a son, A.G., in 2011 with Kenneth Galloway. Galloway and several of his family members have primary pulmonary hypertension, which can cause someone to have difficulty breathing and may look “blue” at times. Sometimes a person can faint or have cardiac arrest as the disease progresses.

A.G. began suffering from episodes where he would turn blue, become stiff, and lose consciousness when he was just two-months old. Tests show he had mild pulmonary hypertension and given medication to treat it. But Krueger stopped the medication because it gave him acid reflux.

Episodes continued, so a pacemaker was placed. Eventually, he was seen by Louisville doctor Chris Johnsrude who concluded the pacemaker was unnecessary and that A.G.’s current diagnosis shouldn’t be causing his serious health issues. Most of A.G.’s episodes occurred when he was alone with Krueger.

Krueger’s mother eventually approached Dr. Johnsrude that she believed her daughter may be causing the boy’s episodes. Johnsrude said it is possible to trigger an attack by pressing on certain locations of the boy’s body for a few seconds. The Department of Child Services intervened, removing A.G. from the home. Krueger was evaluated and believed to have factitious disorder by proxy, in which a caretaker exaggerates or causes medical symptoms to gain attention or some benefit.

Krueger was charged by the state with three Class B felonies, but she was only convicted at trial of Class B felony neglect of a dependent. She was sentenced to 10 years with eight years in the Department of Correction, one year on work release, and one year on probation.

Krueger appealed, claiming insufficient evidence to sustain her conviction. She noted that testimony was presented that A.G. has the disease and episodes happened outside of her care. But her argument is an invitation to reweigh the evidence, despite her claim that the conviction is based on “sheer conjecture and surmise.”

We acknowledge that there were differing expert opinions presented here and that some witness testimony conflicted with other witness testimony. However, resolving those conflicts was the jury’s responsibility. On appeal, we cannot reweigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Mikel An Krueger v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1509-CR-1392.
 
 

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