AUSTIN, Texas – A woman in Texas has been accused of repeatedly smearing human waste on her 3-year-old daughter's intravenous feeding line, potentially causing life-threatening infections.
Emily Beth McDonald, 23, of Austin, was charged with felony injury to a child. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.
According to an arrest affidavit, a surveillance video at Dell Children's Medical Center captured McDonald on Sunday placing feces from a soiled diaper on the cap of a tube with a direct link to her child's bloodstream.
According to the affidavit, police interviewed McDonald, who allegedly confessed and said she knew that her actions could make the child severely ill and possibly even kill her. No motive was disclosed.
McDonald was released on a $100,000 bond Wednesday.
The Austin American-Statesman reported she must wear an electronic monitoring device and comply with a police protective order that prevents her from seeing her three children.
Bob Phillips, an attorney representing McDonald, told the newspaper she is a "fine young woman from a fine family who loves her children very much."
"I believe that as the facts unfold, the impression people have of this young woman will change for the better," Phillips said.
The affidavit said that the sick child was admitted to the hospital April 15 with a high fever and "a long history of chronic diarrhea." She had a catheter and doctors conducted a blood test, which was positive for foreign bacteria common in feces.
Doctors inserted a feeding tube.
"The medical records showed the child would start getting better, and feces mostly likely would get introduced," Austin police child abuse Detective Chris Hallas said.
The affidavit said that hospital staff placed a camera in the room based on their concerns and it recorded McDonald's actions. They reviewed the tape Sunday.
Officials said relatives are caring for McDonald's 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.