Portland, OR ~
A 57-year-old grandmother made two anonymous phone calls 6 days apart to the Oregon Child Welfare hotline with claims of child abuse regarding her grandchildren.
Per the hotline report dated September 24, 2016, the caller reported “that mother, Trisha Gaddis, may be intentionally exacerbating the illness of her child, whose condition is deteriorating and has yet to be diagnosed.” The CW hotline then forwarded the information to the Alberta branch of Multnomah County DHS.
Contrary to what the caller told the CW hotline, hospital records show the child of concern has serious and complicated medical issues dating back to infancy. Among them are epilepsy, episodic ataxia, autism spectrum disorder, chiari type 1 malformation, and tethered spinal cord syndrome. All 5 conditions are well known by his medical care providers.
On September 26, 2016, Trisha had taken her two boys, 14-year-old Marcus and 8-year-old Austin to her ultra-sound appointment to show her sons their new baby brother. It was a joyful and exciting time for the family, but that was about to end.
When the family returned home, Trisha found the business card of CPS investigator, Steve Jackson, attached to the front door. When she called Mr. Jackson, he said the office had received an anonymous call about concerns of abuse regarding 14-year-old Marcus. He informed her that he had already interviewed her daughter, Gabriella, at her school without her permission. Trisha informed Mr. Jackson that Marcus was not and never has been abused and that he was scheduled to have surgery the next day. The two decided to meet for an in-home visit on the 28th with plans to interview Marcus sometime after his surgery.
On the morning of September 27, Marcus had gastrotomy surgery (the insertion of a feeding tube), a procedure that required him to stay in the hospital for several days. The feeding tube was deemed medically necessary and signed off on by three doctors, including the chief of neurology, the pediatrician, and the chief of pediatric surgery.
That same day, unbeknownst to Trisha, Mr. Jackson arrived unannounced at Austin’s school, pulled him out of class and interviewed him about his brother and mother. Austin and his teacher reported that he and his brother have never been harmed by their mother and she takes good care of them.
On September 28, Mr. Jackson met with Trisha at her home. Mother confirmed there are no safety concerns and that she has taken good care of all of her children.
On September 29, Mr. Jackson interviewed Marcus at the hospital. Marcus also reported that he had no safety concern and their mother took good care of him and siblings. Per the mother’s conversation with Marcus, Mr. Jackson creeped him out.
After completion of the interviews, CPS notations indicate there was no immediate threat of harm hence ‘”no probable cause to remove children from the home”, yet the case remained open.
Following Mr. Jackson’s determination of lack of probable cause, a second anonymous call was made on September 30 at 11:29 PM. The second CW hotline report stated, “Tonight, Marcus’ grandmother, who is currently at the hospital, told the reporter that Trisha is planning to ‘send a friend’ to the hospital on Sunday [Oct 2] in an attempt to induce a seizure in Marcus by ‘stressing him out’ while Trisha is not there. Marcus takes of lot of [anti-]seizure meds but hasn’t had one in the hospital yet. Trisha is aware that there is an open CPS investigation and reporter is concerned that she is going to have friend induce a seizure to show that she is not the cause of Marcus’ illness.”
At this point, the Portland Police Bureau and the Child Abuse Team (CAT) were notified.
It was later proven the anonymous caller was Pamala Gaddis. She made both calls to CPS. The first with a false claim of child abuse and the second with a false claim for threat of harm.
On October 2, the alleged attempt to induce seizure in Marcus did not occur.
On October 3, Marcus was scheduled to be discharged from Randall Children’s Hospital. RCH refused to release Marcus and told Trisha they needed to keep him for more observations. Trisha noticed a strange difference in the way she was treated by the staff and her maternal instinct took over. Trisha now feared that Randall Children’s Hospital was going to medically kidnap her son.
The very next day Trisha retained attorney Rich Cohen. Mr. Cohen reached out to CPS investigator Steve Jackson and staff at RCH to speak with them about discharging Marcus from the hospital. Mr. Cohen’s pleas to have Marcus released were ignored by CPS and RCH.
On October 6, Dr. Heather McKeag, Child Abuse Pediatrician at CARES NW, submited her summary analysis of Marcus’s condition to the Portland Child Abuse Team of which CARES NW is a member. Dr. McKeag, who began her career as a Child Abuse Pediatrician at Tuft’s Medical Center in Boston, diagnosed Marcus as a victim of Medical Child Abuse even though she had not interviewed any of the specialists who were treating him. Dr. McKeag provided an unqualified and uncorroborated medical opinion to hypothetically rule in child abuse. And so begins the libelous and slanderous narrative against Trisha Gaddis (AKA Trisha DeLaurent).
On October 7, an ex-parte hearing was held in Multnomah County. With the State’s narrative in place, a family court judge approved a protective action plan, and the three children were removed from their mother’s custody. Trisha was prevented from having contact with Marcus. Austin and Gabriella were taken into CPS protective custody. The protective action plan granted Pamala Gaddis temporary foster care placement with Trisha’s two oldest children, Marcus and Gabriella, both with special needs. Under federal funding Title IV(E) which outlines DHS’s mandatory compliance requirements, an approved foster parent who cares for special needs children will receive approximately $3,500 per month per child.
On October 24, Judge Diana Stewart conducted a shelter care hearing and found probable cause of potential child abuse. The Judge’s decision was based upon a narrative that relied heavily on Mr. Jackson’s CPS report, created from the child abuse hotline statements of Pamala Gaddis in which she claimed she overheard her daughter scheming to induce a seizure in Marcus while he was in the hospital. This “threat of imminent harm” was not corroborrated, nor did it occur.
During a jurisdictional hearing, the family court was presented with a recent letter written by a licensed psychiatrist who treated Trisha for an eating disorder when she was 15 years old. In 1997, Pamala Gaddis spent a week in family therapy alongside Trisha. Both were interviewed in depth. The same psychiatrist ultimately diagnosed Pamala with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy now known as Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another.
Within his assessment, the psychiatrist called Pamala “a controlling, immature mother who was extremely damaged emotionally and did not know how to give nurturing maternal support to her daughter and allow her to be a separate person.” He further stated, “Pamala Gaddis is a mendacious individual. Her testimony cannot be believed. She lacks the emotional boundaries needed to help children mature due to her multiple psychiatric issues.”
The final determination of the State’s jurisdiction will be made the week of February 26, 2018. If the family court rules in favor of Trisha Gaddis and returns the children back into her care, the state will be required to repay the federal funding that has been allocated for all 3 children and their attorneys for the past 16 months.
[The children’s names have been changed to protect their identities as they do not share the same last name as their mother.]
**Substantiation for MSbP diagnosis in excerpt from MD letter below: