Texas teen held captive at Sundance Hospital

Texas mother was powerless to bring her daughter home after she was taken to Sundance Hospital. Source: CBS 11 DFW.

Comments by Terri LaPoint
Investigative Writer, Health Impact News

Being held against one’s will is one of the most frightening, and powerless, things a person can experience. Whether it is a hostage situation with a bank robber, or a masked man holding a loved one for ransom, the terror experienced by both the victim and the family of the victim is the stuff of blockbuster movies, and the hero swoops in and defeats the bad guys, setting the captives free.

What if, instead of the captor being a stereotypical “bad guy,” the captor is a hospital or the state? Would the terror and post traumatic stress experienced by the victim be any less? Those who have experienced this tell us that it is just as disturbing and traumatic. If anything, the powerlessness takes on a whole other dimension because this isn’t the way things are supposed to happen in America. The hospitals are supposed to be the good guys that we turn to in times of need.

A news investigative team in Texas has investigated a number of reports of local hospitals holding young people against their will, while their parents are stripped of their power to help their children, saying that:

This could happen to almost any parent out there.

Investigative reporter Ginger Allen says that they have investigated similar complaints “for years,” and that the story they reported on October 27, 2017, is:

an example of the complaint we probably hear most often.

People – kids – are transported to these hospitals and you can’t get them out. This means that any parent out there could go through what you are about to watch play out.

A teen was taken to Sundance Behavioral Hospital in Texas and held against her will, even when her mother tried to check her out against medical advice. She was also drugged without her mother’s consent while she was there. CBS 11 went undercover with hidden cameras to report on the medical kidnapping.

Health Impact News has also heard of many such complaints. Most often in the stories we report, a child is taken to a hospital for something, and Child Protective Services is called in, beginning a nightmare that can last for years as the parents try to get their children out of the foster care system.

In other cases, such as this one, a teen goes into a hospital for whatever reason, but once they are admitted to a mental ward, the parents are stripped of any ability to bring their child home until the facility says they can go home.

Teens, and children, go into the hospital and are held against their will and the will of their parents. They lose all of their rights. Even if they retain their rights on paper, in actual practice they have no rights and no freedom. They are essentially prisoners of the hospital.

Fortunately in this case, Child Protective Services was not involved, but in many cases, the hospital works in collusion with Child Protective Services to hold the child in custody against their will. Hence the term “medical kidnapping.” The term describes what happens in reality to someone taken against their will for medically-related allegations.

See similar stories that we have covered:

Vermont Teen Drugged Against Her Will, Held in Custody in Massachusetts Mental Health Facility

Medical Kidnapping in Missouri: 25 Year Old Daughter Forced onto Drugs and Committed to Mental Facility

Parents Denied Access to Son in Forced Medical Detention and Forced Medication Case in Alaska

20 Year Old Autistic Girl in Michigan Medically Kidnapped Over Treatment Disagreement

Medically Kidnapped Disabled Man Held Against his Will in Orange County California

In a recent story, a Colorado facility was shut down years after Lisa Mitchell’s son was held captive and abused at the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch. Colorado Child Protective Services seized custody of her son, not because of anything that she had done wrong, but because the state claimed that they could do a better job of “providing services” than she could. Instead, they turned her son’s life into a living hell.


Reign of Terror at Colorado Boys and Girls Ranch Finally Stopped Years After Abuse First Reported

Here is the story of a Texas teen, placed into a mental hospital against her will, despite efforts by her family to bring her home:

I-Team: Mother Of Teen Says A North Texas Hospital Worse Than A Jail

by Senior Investigative Reporter Ginger Allen and Special Projects Producer Aparna Zalani


Madison’s mother, Amanda Mauldin, called the CBS 11 newsroom on a Wednesday afternoon desperate to get help for her daughter who, she said, was admitted to Sundance Behavioral Hospital in Garland, TX.

Sundance Behavioral Hospital

Sundance Behavioral Hospital – the subject of numerous complaints to media about kids being held captive. Source: CBS 11 DFW.

The teenager had been vacationing with her boyfriend’s family. She was on her way back to Oklahoma where she lived. Mauldin got a call from an Anna, TX Police officer.  Mauldin told I-Team Investigator Ginger Allen that the officer called to say Bell and the boyfriend’s family had stopped on the side of Interstate 75. He said she had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend’s family. She was acting up. He told her Bell was not under arrest, but the officer said “due to (her) actions,” she needed somewhere to go.

“I asked the officer on the phone if he could please just hold her, detain her,” Mauldin told the I-Team. Mauldin said she was more than three hours away and needed time to drive to get Madison. The officer said there was nothing to charge her with so he could not hold her. He told Mauldin that he would take Madison to Sundance Behavioral Hospital.

Mother Told She Has “Zero Rights”

When Mauldin arrived at Sundance, she begged the hospital to release Bell; however, by state law, the facility said it was holding Bell for 48 hours until a doctor could reevaluate her.  After repeated requests to see Bell and several visits to the hospital, Mauldin was not getting answers about why the facility wanted to hold her daughter.

“They told me I had zero rights to my child because of how she was brought to this facility,” she said.

Texas mother zero rights

Mother Amanda Mauldin was told she had zero rights to get her child out of the hospital. Source: CBS 11 DFW.

Hiring an Attorney

Mauldin called attorney Margaret Carrigan who returned with her to Sundance 48 hours later. This time the I-Team went inside the hospital with her with our undercover cameras rolling. We watched and listened as Mauldin and Carrigan asked to see Madison. They also asked why she would not be released.

Once again, with security officers standing close-by, employees at the front desk told her Bell could not be released. No one would tell Mauldin why Bell was being held.

And then, more troubling to Mauldin, she learned the hospital had issued an Order of Protective Custody which prolonged Bell’s stay indefinitely. Once again, no one would tell her why. She could not see her child. And, she could not speak to her doctor.

“No one calls. I’ve left ten voicemails,” she said. “No one ever called me back,” she said. Mauldin told the I-Team that the only call from the hospital was from the billing office saying she now likely owed thousands of dollars.

Finally Released (After Being Drugged Against Her Will)

Wednesday afternoon was a good day for Amanda Mauldin since the harrowing phone call Sunday night from the Anna PD police officer.

Carrigan took Mauldin’s case to a judge that morning. The judge signed an emergency order immediately releasing Bell. The I-Team followed Mauldin back into the hospital to see how quickly it would release Mauldin. But, once again, Mauldin waited. She tried to explained to the front desk employees that a judge had signed a release and Bell should be discharged “immediately” without any paperwork.

Several hours after the judge signed the order, 15-year-old Madison Bell rushed out of the hospital right into the arms of her waiting grandmother. Our cameras were there to capture the moment.  While Bell’s mother spoke to the front desk inside the hospital, Renee Mauldin threw her arms around Bell with tears streaming down her face. She hugged and kissed her cheeks saying she was sorry and “this would never happen again.”

Texas teen reunited with family

Madison’s tearful reunion with her grandmother after finally being released from Sundance Behavioral Hospital, where she was held against her family’s will. Source: CBS 11 DFW.

As she got in the car to leave with her family, Madison showed us marks on her arm where she said she’d been grabbed on her first day there. She talked about threats similar to those the I-Team has repeatedly investigated. She specifically referenced a shot called “booty juice.”

“The girl told me they give it in the butt and that it knocks you out,” Bell told Allen and the I-Team. Many former patients and employees have told the I-Team similar stories. Patients called the shot booty juice and said they were threatened with it or given it to sedate them.

Mauldin’s family became the latest loved ones to tell us they are taking legal action against Sundance Hospital. “They know that that we are not done,” Renee Mauldin. “I’m going to fight for every other child in there too.”

Read the full article and watch video of the tearful reunion at CBS 11 DFW.