by Orissa Mora-Kent
Health Impact News
In December of 2015, North Carolina mother Marty Peele contacted Health Impact News through their MedicalKidnap.com website in the hopes that we would tell her story of how her “miracle baby” had been taken away from her and the father of the baby with allegations of “child abuse.”
Local media had published stories portraying them as child abusers, in spite of the fact that Marty had suffered 8 miscarriages, was well respected in her community and church, and had worked with other families’ children for over 17 years. Doctors had even testified that their child was suffering from infantile rickets, which would cause brittle bones.
But they still did not get their baby back after 19 months, so they contacted Health Impact News, and we published their story at MedicalKidnap.com.
The Peele family’s ordeal has now appeared on the Dr. Phil show , and joining them on the show were several doctors who gave their expert testimonies in Marty’s defense, confirming that there was a medical reason for Micah’s broken ribs, and that it was not a result of child abuse. Testifying on the show were Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) genetics and pediatrics expert, Dr. David Ayoub, radiologist and published rickets expert and lecturer, and Dr. Doug Benson, orthopedic surgeon who has been involved in the case for some time.
Also a guest on the show is attorney and child advocate Areva Martin who said:
The system has just run amuck on this case.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Dr. Phil begins the show by introducing Marty, who after eight miscarriages finally realized her dream of becoming a mother,
Marty is a mom who says she was a nanny for 17 years, always loved children, ran her church’s nursery and was even dubbed the ‘baby whisperer’ for her ability to calm other peoples children. Then after struggling through eight miscarriages her dream of becoming a mother finally happened when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but that dream quickly turned into a nightmare after an E.R. visit and she was accused of abuse by doctors, Child Protective Services and police who arrested her for allegedly biting her 16-week old son, breaking several of his ribs and his shoulder bones. She claims she was demonized by local media as a bone breaking biter mom, as news of her story spread.
Dr. Phil states,
Marty says she was interrogated by police for eight hours, accused of stomping on her sixteen-week old son to break his bones.
I never have been an abusive person and for sure never hurt my son. When my son was almost four months old I picked him up out of his crib – it didn’t feel right under his left arm, like a popping feeling. My fiancé and I went straight to the hospital. When we got to x-ray they would not allow us to stay in the room with him. They told us that they had found multiple fractures of my son’s ribs. First we were just blown away, very shocked. Shortly thereafter, the social worker from the hospital came in and she looked right at us – she said ‘I know that you guys abused your son.’ Very first thing she said. The police came. The detective screamed at me, he cursed at me, he told me I was the worst f****** mother he had ever seen. He told me they were going to put me under the f****** jail.
The detective said to Marty,
He [the detective] told me that the injuries that my son had – I would have either had to have stomped on him or he would have had to have been in a massive car accident. I told him that doesn’t make sense, he has no bruising. He had scratch marks on his shoulder where he would grab himself, they said that it was a bite mark that I bit my son. That night they told us that we had to leave without our son. We left with an empty car seat. The last time I held my son was nineteen months ago. I’ve been wrongfully accused of hurting my son.
Dr. Phil asks the audience,
So how could this happen? Was this a case of violent abuse or is there some other explanation- some medical reason for her son’s injuries?
The Search for Answers
Marty explains how she began looking for answers,
After they took my son from us I said ‘now something has to be wrong with our son.’ I started reaching out to doctors. They diagnosed my son with metabolic bone disease. He had rickets which is where he is vitamin D deficient. The fractures that he had were from normal handling. We did babywear him. we would wear him multiple ways, we would swaddle him. He would scream when we put him in his car seat. Now I know he was in pain. We never ever abused our son. (emphasis added)
Dr. Phil says,
Well, Marty I’m glad we’re here talking about this and I’m certainly sorry that you’re in this situation. Now you understand that if a child is presented to an emergency room, any type of caregiver, with injuries that would not be common to the normal course of a child playing and falling or whatever, that it’s upon the caregivers to err in the direction of protecting the child, right?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I told them that. I said I understand that you’re doing your job but I need you to look for the differential diagnosis. Something has to be wrong with my son. I told them over and over and over.
Dr. Phil asks,
Is there any situation or circumstance where unintentionally that you may have injured this child in some way? Is it possible that even in the blink of an eye, for a second…?
Never one time. Never. Never. Ever ever. I never hurt my son. My dad did fall with him about six days prior to this and that may have exasperated the situation but I never have hurt my son ever. Not one time.
Dr. Phil inquires,
Your dad fell backwards?
Yes, and grasped him to his chest.
Marty’s Long History of Working with Children
Dr. Phil then asks,
How do we know you didn’t hurt that baby?
You know they never really looked for the differential diagnosis. There was no bruising, there was just the one scabbing—I have pictures weeks before that happened of the same area. It just doesn’t add up. The dots don’t match up. I’ve cared for children for seventeen years, that’s what I’ve done. I love children. I’ve spent my life taking care of children.
See image of what police say was a bite mark:
Dr. Phil asks,
How many times have you had complaints of being rough with children, spanking children, or hurting children during those seventeen years?
Dr. Phil clarifies,
So you’ve got a seventeen-year history that says you don’t lose your temper with children?
Dr. Phil inquires,
But now you have this child and they say you did lose your temper with this child?
That’s what they said.
Dr. Phil asks,
Your fiancé, has he ever been complained on for hurting a child?
Dr. Phil explains to the audience,
Now detectives questioned Marty for eight hours. Let’s hear some of her interrogation.
Detectives Verbally Abusive in 8-hour Interrogation
Detective states, referring to the marks on Micah’s arm that Marty says are scratches,
Marty, let me tell you something. This isn’t a scratch; this is a bite mark. It’s a clear bite mark.
That’s not a bite mark.
That is a bite mark.
You’ve got to be kidding me. I prayed for this baby, I would never let anybody hurt him, ever. I definitely wouldn’t hurt him.
The detective maintains,
Over and over again you hurt your son.
I have not.
Even if it was Derrick, you know about it…
I definitely do not.
Something happened to your child. He’s had ribs broken and re-broken, and now broken again.
There is no way that I would allow someone to (inaudible)–
–(interposing) That’s because you’ve been doing it. Did the ribs just break on their own?
How did they break then?
I don’t know but I spent 40 hours in labor…
I don’t give a f*** about you going through labor or nothing. I’m trying to help you. You absolutely did something.
You know what’s unfair? Is you got a 16-week-old in there who’s had the s*** kicked out of him his entire life.
Nobody has kicked anything.
I’m down to the point now where I don’t even give a f*** because at this point I’d rather see you under the jail than over it.
Female Detective asks,
What about the bite marks on his shoulders? What about the bruises on his side? You just fail to see any of that?
Marty: “I Would Run Out in the Street to Protect Your Child”
He doesn’t have bite marks. You can give me every lie detector test under the sun, I did not hurt my son. I love my child. I have never been in any trouble in my life. I have taken care of children for 20 years without any incident. I would protect anybody’s child. I would run out in the street to protect your child.
Something happened to your child, it’s you or Derrick. We’re done. I have never met a mother like you before. Ever.
“I Tried for 10 Years to Have a Baby – This is My Miracle Baby”
Dr. Phil asks Marty,
What did you think about this interrogation?
I’m… there’s not words, there’s really not words. I’m so traumatized by it. I’ve never been spoken to in my life like that. I tried for ten years to have a baby. I had eight miscarriages trying to carry my son. This is my miracle baby and I was so focused on just telling him and explaining to him so they would realize they had made a mistake. I never imagined it would get to where it is.
Dr. Phil asks,
You had no idea his ribs were broken?
I think we went to eleven doctor’s visits between his birth, leaving the hospital, and the day this happened.
My son was my miracle child. We have missed out on moments that nothing in the world could ever replace. For sure we’ve been robbed. Nobody can give us this back. I’ve been wrongfully accused of hurting my son. I need somebody to listen, I need answers.
Father Under House Arrest – Could Not Travel to be on Show
Derrick (joining via Polycom) recalls the day CPS took their son away, just because they went to the E.R. seeking help for their son’s unexplained injuries,
Marty and I are innocent. We never did anything to hurt our son. When our son was four months old she could fill up a poppy every time he would breathe in and out. When I slightly touched him he started to cry. We just headed straight to the Emergency Room. CPS came into the room. A cop and a detective – we were questioned for hours. He was telling me he can tell I’m not a bad person but I need to come clean about what happened. Once the social worker told us that this is child abuse Marty and I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t fathom what was going on. I was still in shock that our son had these injuries and we knew nothing about it.
Derrick says of that day,
They called me back there to where the nurse was holding my son and the detective told me to “hold your son one more time because you’re never going to see him again.”
Hospital Letter States Micah Had “Undetected Infantile Rickets”
Dr. Phil then states that there is a letter from the hospital, dated September 15, 2014, which puts things in a very different light.
See letter from hospital:
Dr. Phil then says,
So what you’re saying then is that there were conditions, one that you have, and there is a genetic component to this that it can be passed on and that he was also suffering from infantile rickets and these fractures of ribs for example could have been during the birth process, could be from picking the child up, could be from any number of things…
It could be and I kept telling them that over and over.
Dr. Whelan Testifies
Dr. Phil then states,
Well, EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), genetics and pediatrics expert Dr. J. Patrick Whelan says clues on Marty’s son’s x-rays were missed that were suggestive of metabolic bone disease. He also says there’s no doubt that Marty was a victim of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and passed the genetic disorder to her son.
Dr. Phil welcomes Dr. Whelan, asking,
I guess the question that we have, bottom line, was this missed when they went to the hospital and is that why this abuse allegation was made?
Dr. Whelan testifies,
Absolutely. This is not an uncommon thing that happens in the Emergency Room. They’re looking for common things; they’re not looking for the rare things. They’re numbed to the presence of common problems. So I think it’s not surprising that a radiologist glancing at this film seeing multiple broken ribs jumps to the conclusion that this must be child abuse.
Dr. Phil says,
And you say he was also born with rickets.
Dr. Whelan replies,
So, rickets is a problem with the strength of our bones. It’s a problem where for one reason or another the bone mineral density is decreased below what it should be.
Dr. Phil says,
You say they also missed some tell-tale signs of flared ribs.
Dr. Whelan responds,
Perhaps I should defer to my radiology colleague sitting next to me here.
Dr. Ayoub Testifies
Dr. Phil then introduces Dr. David Ayoub, radiologist and published rickets expert and lecturer:
Dr. Phil asks Dr. Ayoub,
Tell us what you’ve seen in looking at this and what it means in interpreting what has happened in this case.
Dr. Ayoub explains,
There was a clue in what a radiologist should have read that would have automatically, in my opinion, completely excluded the mother as a suspect, if there was abuse–even before you were judging whether there was abusive fractures or metabolic bone disease related fractures–the mother brought the baby in with clicking or popping in the ribs, a non-life-threatening disease. Why would a mother abuse a child and bring that child under the light of multiple healthcare providers who would almost certainly catch her… this is an act of insanity and if this is the mindset of this mother there would be easy to find this in her background that she was doing crazy things. And this is not the action of a guilty person, so that would be the first person I would cross off my list.
Dr. Ayoub further testifies,
And unless you are trained carefully to look at the subtle signs of rickets on x-rays, you will never see them. They’re not teaching doctors that anymore. The baby’s x-rays showed enough signs, although relatively mild compared to the other cases I see, there were clear cut signs at the 2-month x-ray of rachitic rosary which is enlargement of the front of the ribs. There were changes in the wrists and changes in some of the longbones, of rickets.
Dr. Benson Testifies
Dr. Doug Benson, an orthopedic surgeon who has been involved in the Peele’s case for some time, joins via phone to give his testimony.
Nine Pregnancies in Eleven Years Leaches Minerals from Mother’s Body Resulting in Brittle Bones
Dr. Benson states,
Right at the beginning you talked about the fact that this woman had nine pregnancies in eleven years. The mother’s body leaches out minerals to make her baby and when she has one pregnancy after another she never really has an opportunity to fully recover. And it’s been known for a hundred years that vitamin D deficiency is associated with fractures in infants and small children.
Dr. Phil turns to Marty and says,
This has got to be music to your ears…
Marty emotionally replies,
Dr. Phil then shares that they’ve reached out to the Police Department, CPS, and the DA’s office to hear what they have to say about this. Below are screenshots of their official comments:
The Wake County Police Department declined to comment.
Attorney and Child Advocate Areva Martin Speaks, “There is no Justification for This”
Dr. Phil says,
I’ve brought somebody here to talk about this, attorney and child advocate, Areva Martin has been sitting here listening to this so far. Areva, let me think how to put this, “What the hell is going on?”
The system has just run amuck on this case, Dr. Phil. The Distric Attorney, the CPS, the family, these experts should all be talking because they all should have the best interests of this child as the primary focus and getting this child returned to the parents, if they’re not abusers. They should not be in separate corners. They should be together working to get this child home. (emphasis added)
Dr. Phil states,
As I understand it, Derrick does not have visitation. He’s not even been charged with anything. Explain that to me.
The reality is, sometimes these systems overreach. There is no justification based on the facts that we know that’s before us that would support Derrick not having custody. And I wish that the family had some resources, or some pro-bono services, some clinics that are available, some free lawyers that will go in the court and help Derrick get his son. Derrick hasn’t been charged with any child abuse, there is no reason that Derrick should not have custody of his son.
Unify This Family Now
Dr. Phil asks Areva,
Will you help us coordinate those resources?
I’m going to help Derrick. I’m going to help the Mom. I’d love to help you all get the services that you need.
Dr. Phil then explains to the audience,
…experts here have weighed in on this. …there’s just absolutely no reason to not unify this family.
How You Can Help
Supporters are asked to contact Governor Pat McCrory and ask for him to intervene. He may be reached at 919 814 2000, or contacted here .
Friends have set up a new Facebook page for people to follow their story – A Miracle for Micah .
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