Gene flaw causes family fracture after criminal charges of abuse

New Mexico parents might be interested in the case of two parents accused of abusing their 3-month-old daughter after she continued to exhibit fractures. The reason for these fractures lay in a connective-tissue disorder, known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an often unheard-of disease that causes fractures due to a fragile underlying structure of the body. However, the genetic disease wasn’t detected before the girl’s father was charged with second-degree felony child abuse. For a time, he was kept away from his daughter except for two hours a week of court-supervised visitation.

It began when after hearing a popping sound, the father took the baby to a children’s hospital where X-rays showed his daughter had multiple bone fractures. Doctors officially suspected the man of physically abusing his child. At first, the man’s wife questioned her husband, but she did more investigating and found that it wouldn’t have been possible for her husband to have abused their daughter because she or the nanny had always been with the baby. They then began to search for alternate explanations.

A television news report about the case brought the family’s plight to the attention to a pair of Dallas parents who had gone through the exact same ordeal with their twin daughters. They were fortunate enough to have enlisted the aid of a geneticist, who finally identified the rare genetic disorder. The charges were dropped, and the once-accused father has been able to move back in with his family.

Single parents or those going through a divorce and are looking for a child custody solution may want to contact an attorney experienced in family law. Working with a lawyer may be able to help them reach a resolution that’s in the best interests of the child.

Source: WFAA, “Rare bone disease leads to bogus child abuse allegations”, Janet St. James, November 15, 2013

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