Neighbors of a woman accused of faking her children's illnesses say they are shocked by her arrest.
One of Laurie Williamson's three children has already undergone two serious surgeries. One was to insert a gastric feeding button and another for epilepsy. But prosecutors say both were unnecessary and that the 39-year-old mother had told all her kids they had terminal illnesses and would not live past 18.
"The little girl had braces on," said neighbor Dorothy Cambon. "They didn't think she was going to live. That's all I know."
Cambon lived next door to Laurie Williamson when CPS took her three children into custody last year. Neighbors thought the kids had gone to live with a grandmother. Williamson later lost her Spring home and neighbors lost touch with her. That is, until she showed up on the news Monday, accused of inflicting serious illness to her own children.
"We basically allege that by keeping them in constant fear that they were terminally ill, by not adequately feeding them, taking care of them, potting training them," said prosecutor Mike Trent. "She deprived them of food by giving them unnecessary prescription medications."
CPS says the children, ages 12, 9 and 7, were in wheelchairs and could not eat solid food when they took them into custody. Today, all can walk and are considered healthy.
"Of course you are shocked to hear it, that a child, there is nothing really wrong with them and they were being either medicated or whatever abuse they are under, and now those children are fine," said former neighbor Gleena Davis.
Prosecutor Mike Trent says Williamson had worked as a part time nurse.
"She is familiar with a lot of different rare ailments and knew the jargon to speak to these professionals in a way that they'll quite candidly admit fooled them," he said.
And perhaps those living right next door, too.
"She was so sweet to those children, caring for them," said Cambon.
Williamson was in a wheelchair when she was in court, but the prosecutor believes he can prove she doesn't need one. We were unable to reach her defense attorney.
Munchausen Syndrome, and Munchausen by proxy were named after an 18-century German dignitary named Baron von Munchausen. He was known for telling outlandish stories. In 1951, Dr. Richard Asher remembered Munchausen while looking for a name for the disorder in which people make up fictional health problems and symptoms.