FRANKSTON, Texas (KLTV) - Texas Rangers have arrested a Frankston woman accused of injecting unneeded insulin into her daughter in order to gain attention.
Ellen Corrine Rupp-Jones, 36, is charged with injury to a child. She was arrested on the Tarrant County charge on Thursday and is being held in the Anderson County Jail.
Rupp-Jones first appeared on KLTV in November, as part of a fundraiser to buy a diabetes alert dog for her seven-year-old daughter. Three days later, KLTV reported the daughter had received a dog to be trained to be a D.A.D.
Child Protective Services documents allege Rupp-Jones has Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a person acts as if someone else suffers from an illness.
According to an arrest affidavit, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the case on Jan. 20, when Detective Michael Weber was contacted by a representative with the Texas Department of Family Protective Services. The representative said an endocrinologist had believed Rupp-Jones, who is employed as a nurse, had given a dose of unneeded insulin to the child, so that the child appeared to be hypoglycemic.
According to the affidavit, Rupp-Jones took her daughter to UT Health in Tyler and said her daughter had blood sugar problems. Rupp-Jones was told by a nurse to stay in Tyler, but Rupp-Jones ignored that advice and took her daughter to Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth.
A test showed the daughter to have low blood sugar with an elevated insulin level, which concerned the doctor over insulin poisoning. According to the affidavit, Rupp-Jones told the doctor her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes in Kentucky. The staff at Cook’s contacted the doctor in Kentucky, who said testing was never performed there. This caused the Cook’s doctor to be concerned that Rupp-Jones may be poisoning her daughter with unneeded insulin.
After the hospital visit, the daughter was placed in a foster home.
On Jan. 21, Weber contacted the girl’s father, who said he had one other child with Rupp-Jones. He said their son was healthy until Rupp-Jones began complaining their son had hearing problems several years ago. The father said Rupp-Jones demanded that their son have a special hearing device in school.
The father told Weber he has custody of his daughter every other weekend and has never seen any seizures, low blood sugars or other symptoms of diabetes. He said he had questioned Rupp-Jones on the diabetes diagnosis before and it upset Rupp-Jones greatly when he did, according to the affidavit.
The father said Rupp-Jones is extremely attention seeking and once said there was a shooting at her work in Kentucky over a year ago. The father said when he questioned why there was no media report, Rupp-Jones said the hospital had paid off media not to report.
The father said Rupp-Jones has claimed to be in the Air Force, but Weber was able to confirm Rupp-Jones had never been a part of any military branch.
Weber next reached out to an ex-husband of Rupp-Jones, who said Rupp-Jones once told him she had cancer when she was pregnant with his child, but he did not believe she was ever pregnant. The ex said Rupp-Jones told the judge in their divorce she had just had a c-section and the baby was stillborn. The ex said said Rupp-Jones was on his insurance at the time and that he had the medical records, which never showed a c-section or pregnancy. He also said she claimed to have an operation to have the cancer removed, but a mutual friend said she just had a cyst removed, which did not have cancer.
The ex also referenced an interview for TV, where she solicited donations for a service dog for her daughter.
On Jan. 31, a forensic interviewer talked to the girl, who said she has a seizure when her blood sugar is low.
“The victim stated ’That’s what I heard, I have a seizure.' When asked if the victim remembered the seizure or is this something someone told her, the victim stated ‘I never knew when I had a seizure,’” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states the girl said she was injected with insulin when she stayed with her mother but never with her father. She said her mother gets mad when she doesn’t do what her mother says and she is sent to time out and loses cellphone access.
On Feb. 12, Weber interviewed the Cook’s doctor, who said any administration of insulin in a child who did not have diabetes would cause a substantial risk of death. He also said the girl was placed in a room with a hidden camera and that Rupp-Jones reported the girl having seizures and vomiting, but nothing of that sort was later found on video, according to the affidavit.
The doctor said that because Rupp-Jones is a nurse, she had access to fast-acting insulin and glucagon, which allowed her to raise and lower her daughter’s insulin level.
On Feb. 14, Weber spoke with Rupp-Jones. Weber reported Rupp-Jones gave inconsistent statements about her daughter’s genetic testing. Weber also questioned Rupp-Jones’ claims to having cancer and said Rupp-Jones said she only had pre-cancerous cells, but that she did chemotherapy. But when Weber said he would get her medical records, she backed off the claim. He also confronted her on claims of being pregnant when she was previously married and her claims to being in the Air Force and Rupp-Jones backed off each claim.
Weber asked Rupp-Jones if she used attention-seeking behavior and she said “For me maybe, but I don’t need anything for my daughter,” according to the affidavit.
On March 28, Weber spoke with a friend of the family, who helped Rupp-Jones with fundraising efforts in East Texas. She said Rupp-Jones often left her children with her to babysit and they stayed with her on average three nights a week. She said the girl was allowed to eat what she wanted and she never had to take the girl to the hospital.
She said a fundraiser at her church raised over $4,000 and was meant to purchase the service dog. But she later learned Rupp-Jones had been withdrawing money from the account and using it for everyday expenses.
The family friend said the service dog “Yankee” was partially donated, as $500 was placed for the dog but the owners waived the remaining balance.
As of May 23, the child had been out of Rupp-Jones’ care for four months and ate a normal child’s diet and did not need insulin.
Weber obtained a warrant for Rupp-Jones’ arrest on May 31.