Megan Lee Kafer is a 25-year-old Minnesota mother accused of trying to starve her baby. Investigators say she was recorded at a hospital injecting her son with a laxative.
Officials say Kafer had also been researching how to make a child sick. After obtaining a warrant for her phone, they discovered searches such as “MiraLax overdose” and “Child salt death.”
Kafer was taken into custody in July 2018. A felony charge of child endangerment was filed November 21, 2018 and Kafer was stripped of her parental rights.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Kafer Brought Her Baby to the Hospital in July & Doctors Observed He Looked ‘Emaciated’
Megan Lee Kafer took her son to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota in July 2018. The baby had been struggling to gain weight, despite doctors’ efforts to help him, and they observed that he looked “emaciated.”
Staffers called the police and said they were concerned that Kafer could be intentionally hurting the baby, according to the probable cause affidavit, which you can read in its entirety above.
The medical staff connected the baby to a feeding tube. Kafer was left in the room with him but did not know that a video recording device had been installed in the room. The complaint explains, “The room is set up to help doctors to determine whether or not abuse or neglect may be occurring. As medical staff monitored the room they saw the defendant enter the bathroom, an area which is not recorded, and then exit with a syringe. The defendant sat with the child on her lap. She covered him with a blanket and took out the syringe and appeared to be injecting something into his feeding tube.”
Sergeant Eric Skog of the St. Paul Police Department had been summoned to watch the surveillance feed. After observing this behavior, he and other medical staff confronted Kafer. According to the criminal complaint, Kafer began shaking and crying as she was taken into custody.
2. Police: The Syringe Tested Positive for MiraLax & Suspicious Search Terms Were Discovered on Kafer’s Phone
When police arrested Kafer, they found two boxes of MiraLax in her purse. According to the criminal complaint, Kafer claimed that the laxative was for her own use. She also reportedly stated that she had used the syringe to inject her son with water. She said she had only been trying to help her son gain weight.
The syringe was sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing. It came back positive for MiraLax.
Investigators also searched Kafer’s phone. They found several suspicious search terms dating from July 21 through July 25 of 2018. The terms included:
• “MiraLax overdose”
• “Can a doctor tell if you overdose on MiraLax”
• “How to make a baby really sick”
• “too much water symptoms baby”
• “baby shock symptoms”
• “how to make a baby vomit”
• “mom gets 20 years to life for poisoning son with salt”
Kafer has been charged with a felony count of child endangerment. It carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
3. Medical Report: Doctors Theorized the Baby Struggled to Gain Weight Due to His Mother ‘Denying Him Nutrition’
Doctors believed that Kafer was causing her son’s symptoms, according to the medical report that was included in the probable cause affidavit. The medical staff theorized that Kafer was intentionally starving her son and had been “administering additional fluid which could have been free water or could have been mixed with other products such as MiraLax.” The affidavit also states, “The report concluded that WFK suffered harm as a direct and immediate result of his mother’s actions.”
The report stated that the baby suffered a seizure while he was in the hospital. Doctors said it was likely caused by hyponatremia. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, hyponatremia occurs when the body does not have enough sodium in the system. Drinking too much water can prompt the condition.
Since her arrest, Kafer has been stripped of her parental rights. Her husband, Jacob Kafer, told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “We are trying to get the family back together in a way that is safe and healthy for everyone.” He said his wife is seeing a counselor and acknowledged that she had been struggling mentally.
4. Megan Kafer Has Been Married Since 2014 & Has Two Children; Her Only Prior Charge in Minnesota Was a Misdemeanor For Having Her Dog Off a Leash
Megan Lee Kafer married her husband Jacob in October 2014, according to her Facebook page. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Kafer lists her hometown as Fountain City, Wisconsin.
The family appears to be relatively new to the Lewiston, Minnesota area. Kafer’s Linkedin profile shows she most recently worked as an assistant trainer at “Paws 4 Independence.” It’s a service dog training facility in La Crosse, Wisconsin, located about 40 miles southeast of Lewiston.
Kafer attended Winona State University in Minnesota. She majored in Individualized Studies and graduated in 2016. She wrote on her Linkedin page that her degree was preparation for a nursing career. She planned to take time off to raise her young children, and return for her master’s degree once her children began school.
Megan Lee Kafer has one prior conviction in the state of Minnesota, for a minor offense. She was cited for “Dog Running at Large” in March of 2017. Between a fine and fees, she paid $136.50. She has no other criminal history.
5. Kafer Was Involved in a Fatal Car Crash in 2012 & Said She Suffered From PTSD Following the Crash
Megan Lee Kafer says she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after she was involved in a fatal car crash in 2012. The La Crosse Tribune reported at the time that 19-year-old Megan L. Hurlburt (her maiden name) failed to yield when making a left turn. She crashed into a motorcylist, identified as 24-year-old Matthew Triggs. He was not wearing a helmet and was killed at the scene. Kafer was ordered to pay a fine, complete 40 hours of community service and was stripped of her license for 9 months. She shared with the Winona Daily News in 2016 that after the crash, she began self-medicating and even attempted suicide.
Kafer then got involved with Paws 4 Independence. The organization provided her with a German Shepherd named Kaiser. The dog helped her avoid panic attacks. She explained to the newspaper, “Things got a million times better after I got him. He gave me my life back. For a while, I wouldn’t leave the house without him.”
The dog achieved celebrity status on the college campus, and even walked across the stage with her at graduation.