by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
They say that it is always darkest before the dawn. William and Danielle Headley came very close to giving up and believing that their family would never be whole again. Their family was ripped apart almost 3 years ago based on the seemingly omnipotent power of the word of a Child Abuse Specialist doctor.
The Headleys were reunited this week, but it was a day they had begun to doubt would ever arrive.
In July of 2015, Dr. Nancy Henderson-Hines of Greenville Memorial Hospital reportedly accused Danielle Headley of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Based on her allegations, the mother of 4 was criminally charged with felony Child Abuse and Neglect and faced the prospect of up to 30 years in prison.
This doctor was someone that they had never even met, yet her words held the power to persuade law enforcement, social workers, and prosecutors that Danielle Headley had hurt her youngest son, dividing their family and unleashing a reign of destruction upon their family that they could never have fathomed in their darkest nightmares.
It’s over now. None of the doctors from Greenville Memorial Hospital, including Danielle’s accuser Dr. Nancy Henderson-Hines, showed up at court on Monday, March 26, 2018. They were reportedly no longer willing to testify in Danielle Headley’s criminal court case.
Danielle told Health Impact News that her lawyer told her Monday that the prosecutor, known as a solicitor in South Carolina, said:
We are dropping everything. We don’t have any evidence.
Two years and nine months of trauma for Danielle, William, and their 4 sons, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, is over.
There was no evidence that she hurt her son.
There never was.
This story is a victory tale for the Headley family, celebrating the end of their nightmare. It is also a cautionary tale of the unimaginable power for destruction that is held by an elite group of people known as “Child Abuse Specialist Doctors.”
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Their power is virtually unlimited, and child welfare system bows down to them with loyalty that is almost religious in its fervor.
There is no accountability and almost nothing that the average person can do to protect themselves and their family once they land in the cross-hairs of a member of this powerful posse.
These doctors have formed an almost unstoppable alliance with the Child Protective System and the family court system.
Parents who find themselves caught up in their web are practically helpless because any evidence they have contradicting the word of the Child Abuse Specialist is usually ignored or swept under the rug.
William Headley said that he believes that their faith in God has brought them through their ordeal – that, and the fact that they took their story to the public and exposed the major players in the network bent on destroying his family:
DSS [the SC Department of Social Services] will rip your family apart, and we came close to not making it.
You’ve got to keep faith. If you don’t have faith in God, you just don’t make it.
This is the first Easter holiday that they have been able to celebrate together in 3 years.
See their original story and continuing coverage:
South Carolina Medically Kidnapped 4 Year Old Went Missing From Foster Care, Found After Police Search
Mother Was Not Allowed Home
The Headley boys were released from foster care in November 2016 and allowed to come home to their father’s house. They were able to sleep in their own beds in their own home.
However, there was a “no-contact order” on Danielle for their youngest son Jack. DSS said this was to be enforced until Danielle’s criminal trial.
That meant that, though the boys were home, she could not be. She had to move out of her home. William became, in effect, a single father, raising the boys by himself.
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It was far better than foster care, because the children were home with their daddy. No longer were they in Epworth Children’s Home where they were allegedly abused and one of them allegedly molested. Their grandmothers were once again able to be a big part of their lives.
All visits with their mother, however, had to be supervised. Only the 3 older boys could see her. Jack was not allowed to see his mother. The state of South Carolina put the children in the position of having to lie to their little brother, but he eventually figured out that they were going to see their mother and he wasn’t.
William and Danielle tried their best to make life be as normal as possible to minimize the trauma on their sons, but the separation took a toll.
“100% Proof” Vanished
At times William and Danielle wondered if the criminal case would ever go to trial or if their family would stay in this limbo forever. Danielle had not seen Jack even once since the children were taken on July 10, 2015. She was arrested on October 13, 2015. The kids came home in November 2016. Finally, the court date was set for March 26, 2018.
William reports that the solicitor (prosecutor) tried to wear him down for the trial. She reportedly contacted him repeatedly, hoping he would turn on Danielle and testify against her. As the date for the trial grew closer, she called him “every day. Non-stop.” He says that the solicitor told him that they had “absolute proof” that Danielle had been making Jack sick. It was “100% proof” that she had hurt him, she said.
Their “proof” evaporated on the day of trial.
Neither Dr. Nancy Henderson-Hines nor any of the doctors from Greenville Memorial Hospital were willing to testify on the day of court. No one from DSS showed up.
The Headleys report that the social worker involved with their case moved out of state as soon as their DSS case was closed in April 2017, and the GAL (Guardian ad litem) retired after the case was closed.
Tracy Moss is the police investigator who originally walked into their house without knocking and seized the children from their home, based on Dr. Nancy Henderson-Hines’ assertion of abuse. She and the solicitor were the only people who came to court to accuse Danielle.
Danielle’s attorney told her at court that the solicitor was dropping all the charges against her because, even after all this time, they had no evidence against her.
Instead, they asked her to plead “no-contest” to having a messy house. She has 4 boys, so she said she had no problem admitting to that. On the day before Investigator Tracy Moss came into her house to take the children, the family had been swimming all day. They came home, then got everyone bathed and put to bed. She said she was worn out and did not clean the house before going to sleep, so the house was, indeed, messy.
The criminal case is over. It ended on Monday. The next day was the day that Danielle has been waiting for and praying for, for 2 years and 9 months.
After that glorious day, the Headley family headed to the beach for a well-deserved vacation – together. For the first time in almost 3 years, all 6 Headleys are together.
Danielle loves tucking her sons into bed at night again.
I’ve definitely waited a long, long time for this.
Their 2nd oldest son Gabe told his mother:
We can live like the old days.
There were happy, noisy sounds in the background as William and Danielle told Health Impact News about dyeing Easter eggs together. William said:
We’re doing so much better now. I can’t explain it. We left that state, and now everything’s pretty much back the way it’s supposed to be.
Real Medical Issues – Wrong Diagnosis by Child Abuse Doctor
There were, in fact, real medical issues going on with Jack. When a parent is accused of Munchausen by Proxy or Medical Child Abuse, the thinking of the Child Abuse Specialist doctors is that, if the child’s health improves when the mother is out of the picture, that is proof positive that the mother caused the issues. Indeed, this thinking is canonized in the Child Abuse Specialist policies.
However, this simplistic characterization can overlook important information, such as in the Headley case.
Jack’s health did, indeed, improve somewhat after he was medically kidnapped by DSS. However, it was not his removal from his mother that made the difference; it was his removal from the family home.
Not long after the children were taken, William Headley discovered that there was a great deal of toxic black mold behind the ceiling and walls. It was so bad that the environmental specialist they hired to test the mold and air quality had just one recommendation:
Jack already had a compromised immune system. He was diagnosed at age 2 with a form of mitochondrial disease called SCAD – Short Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency, a condition that prevents the body from converting certain fats into energy.
His little body could not handle the mold. Jack’s improvement in his health was because he was taken out of the house with the mold, not because he was taken from his mother.
By the time the boys came home, William had moved into a different house. It wasn’t long before he noticed some of Jack’s symptoms recurring. His mother was not permitted to be around him, so this had nothing to do with her. Much to his dismay, William found that THIS house had mold, too. After he moved out of that house, the symptoms subsided once again.
The tragedy is that a doctor not only missed the real cause of Jack’s symptoms, but she also tore the family apart.
Danielle says that no one involved with their case has apologized to them.
Her children suffered abuse and the trauma of separation. One of the children was raped and sodomized in the group home, but the attack was swept under the rug. All this happened in the name of “protection,” based on the word of a doctor who, in the words of the Headley’s attorney Donald Smith:
is simply a medical doctor. She is not a psychiatrist. She is not a psychologist. She had never met Danielle Headley.
She had never seen any of Ms. Headley’s medical records, let alone mental health records, which did not exist because she had not been treated for mental health issues.
Despite not having any formal education in a psychological field, not having any practice experience in a psychological field, and never having met with Ms. Headley, Dr. Henderson made a psychological diagnosis of a complex mental illness regarding Ms. Headley.
Dr. Henderson diagnosed Ms. Headley with Munchausen’s by Proxy. She contacted her friend (and loyal supporter) at the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department. She told her that Ms. Headley suffered from the aforementioned psychological malady.
“Dr. Henderson states that she feels after reviewing medical records and in the discussion with multiple medical providers that there is strong concern for medical child abuse (often termed Munchausen by proxy).” (Search Warrant, July 9, 2015).
According to Dr. Henderson, “Medical child abuse is when a child is either having symptoms either fabricated or exaggerated or induced that’s causing tests and procedures to be done which potentially or in reality can cause harm to the child.” (Henderson Deposition, 11/16/15, p.53, 14-8).
Dr. Henderson’s “strong concern” means that she didn’t know what (if anything) the mother was doing. Therefore, she made it about the child. “I think a lot of times the lay term people understand is Munchausen by proxy, but in the child abuse world we call it medical child abuse. And this is a diagnosis for XXX, not mom, medical child abuse. XXX has got the medical child abuse? Yes, sir.” (Id., p. 54, 7-13). (See link.)
After the accusation by Dr. Henderson, who never actually saw Danielle, she had a total of 4 psychological evaluations, one of which was with a psychiatrist through DSS.
None of the doctors who personally evaluated her diagnosed her with Munchausen by Proxy. In fact, the only diagnosis that was given was that Danielle suffered from “emotional disturbances based on surroundings.”
In other words, she was traumatized by having her children kidnapped.
How Does One Doctor Carry So Much Power?
Though police investigator Tracy Moss, DSS social workers, and the state solicitor’s office were all involved with the seizing of the Headley children, all of their actions hinged on the word of one person – Dr. Nancy Henderson-Hines, a doctor who had never seen or talked with the family.
Based on her accusation, a family was kept apart for 2 years and 9 months. Children were placed into foster care where they suffered abuse, trauma, and even sodomy.
A marriage was almost ripped apart. Reputations were destroyed. An innocent woman faced the possibility of spending 30 years in prison for a crime that didn’t occur.
In the end, there was no actual evidence that Danielle had committed any crime along with an abundance of evidence that she was innocent.
Dr. Henderson-Hines is not alone.
Child Abuse Specialist doctors figure heavily into many Medical Kidnap stories, from all over the country. See:
Once these doctors proclaim that a child has been abused, all medical investigation into other possible diagnoses ceases, sometimes to the physical detriment of the child involved. Children are traumatized by being torn from everything and everyone they know and love.
Parents are often left bereft of hope of fighting such an all-powerful entity.
Social workers take these doctors’ word as gospel truth. Investigation stops. Judges either ignore or are never presented with medical evidence from doctors who are actually qualified to evaluate the medical issues at hand.
Justice is not served, as the opinion of a single person carrying the title of “doctor” over-rules any other evidence, or lack of evidence.
William and Danielle Headley believe that getting their story out to the public and exposing Dr. Henderson-Hines and other players involved in their case certainly contributed to their positive outcome. Danielle said that she does not believe their story would have ended as well had they not talked so publicly about what was happening to their family.
One thing I know for sure: If you keep your mouth shut, you’re going to lose for sure.
*Article originally appeared at Health Impact News.