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‘I Think I’m a Horrible Person’: Texas Mom Allegedly Admitted to Overdosing 4-Year-Old Daughter with Benadryl to Fake Seizure Disorder

Jesika Jones via the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

Jesika Jones via the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

A 30-year-old Texas mother and self-proclaimed “habitual liar” is behind bars this week for allegedly poisoning her 4-year-old daughter by overdosing her with Benadryl to intentionally fake a seizure disorder.

Jesika Jones was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count each of abandoning or endangering a child and injury to a child with the intent to cause serious bodily injury, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jones on June 19 brought her daughter to the emergency room at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and told the medical staff that the child had been suffering from chronic seizures. Jones had reportedly brought her daughter to the same ER on multiple previous occasions for the same reason. The little girl was reportedly admitted to the facility three of those times.

During the child’s previous hospital visits, the medical staff analyzed the girl’s urine and found high amounts of the anti-allergy medication in her system. Those results, however, reportedly came back after the child had already been discharged from the hospital.

After checking the child into the facility on June 19, the medical staff again took a urine sample and ordered an expedited return on the results. The child then remained at the hospital until June 23. During that time, Jones allegedly accompanied her child into the bathroom multiple times per day.

“Each time, according to the arrest warrant, Jones carried her purse in with her. An hour after the bathroom visits, the child had full body tremors, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate and could not stand on her own,” the Star-Telegram reported.  “Those symptoms, according to doctors’ statements in the affidavit, are indicative of Benadryl poisoning.”

Jones allegedly denied giving her child any medication since she’d been in the hospital, but the child’s urine samples allegedly came back positive for Benadryl every day she was at the facility.

Doctors on June 23 reportedly contacted the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office to relay their concerns about Jones possibly dosing her daughter with Benadryl during trips to the bathroom, noting that such does would have to be “high” to produce the subsequent seizures.

A detective on June 24 interviewed Jones who again denied giving her daughter the medication, though she did admit to having Benadryl in her purse, allegedly claiming it was for her own allergies. But when confronted with the results from the urinalysis, Jones reportedly admitted to giving her 4-year-old four or five 25 mg adult Benadryl tablets on multiple occasions. Children aren’t supposed to take Benadryl until they are at least 6 years old.

Investigators searched Jones’ purse and reportedly found two 24-pill Benadryl packets. One was empty and the other only had six pills remaining in the package. In addition to the Benadryl, investigators also found an empty 30-pill bottle of the antidepressant Trazodone along with a bottle of the antihistamine Hydroxyzine with 64 pills gone. Jones allegedly admitted to giving her daughter one of each pill on two different occasions.

Jones eventually broke down and admitted she “need[s] help,” the affidavit reportedly states.

“I think I’m a horrible person. I don’t love myself. I don’t like who I am. I’m tired of living life like this. I’m tired of hurting people emotionally, (redacted) medically,” she allegedly told investigators during the interview. “I don’t know. I really don’t. I just know I need help. I really do. I want help.”

She also allegedly referred to herself as a “habitual liar.”

Approximately one week later, doctors reportedly told investigators that Jones’ daughter’s urinalysis came back positive for Benadryl, Trazodone, and Hydroxyzine.

One of the child’s doctors reportedly told investigators that the girl showed signs of “severe Benadryl poisoning” which placed her at “substantial risk of seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, difficulty breathing and coma — all of which can lead to death,” the Star-Telegram reported.

Detectives also interviewed a man who lived with Jones and her children for three years. The man reportedly said he’d never heard about any seizure disorder with Jones’ daughter. He allegedly noted, however, that he’d reported Jones to Child Protective Services multiple times because he suspected Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which a caretaker either fakes or causes symptoms to make it seem like the person in their care, usually a child, is sick.

Jones is currently being held at the Tarrant County Corrections Center on $10,000 bond.

[image via Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.