A former Palestine Regional Medical Center nurse was arrested and jailed without bond Thursday for allegedly injecting her daughter with insulin to make it appear the child had a rare form of diabetes.
Ellen Rupps-Jones, 36, of Frankston, charged with injury to a child, awaits a transfer to the Tarrant County Jail.
The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office began investigating Rupp-Jones in January, after an endocrinologist at UT Health in Tyler reported suspicions she was injecting her 7-year-old daughter, Dani Miller, with insulin to make the child appear hypoglycemic.
Blood sugar tests confirmed hypoglycemia, or low blood-sugar, but also showed an elevated insulin level, a sign of insulin poisoning.
Rupps-Jones left UT Health against medical advice and took her daughter to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, where she told doctors her daughter had been diagnosed with diabetes in Kentucky.
When hospital staff called Kentucky to verify Miller's condition, doctors said Miller had never been tested for diabetes.
Shortly after the visit to Cook Children's Hospital, Miller was placed in foster care.
Child Protective Services documents allege Rupp-Jones may suffer from Munchausen-by-proxy, a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to a person under his or her care.
Now, away from Rupps-Jones's care for more than four months, Miller has been eating a normal diet; family and friends report she has had no need for insulin.
Rupps-Jones was named custodial parent after divorcing Miller's father, who maintains custody every other weekend. Miller told investigators she was injected with insulin when she stayed with her mother, but never with her father.
In November of last year, Rupps-Jones was the subject of a KLTV feature, in which she said her daughter suffered from MODY, a rare form of diabetes caused by the mutation of a single gene.
In the interview, Rupps-Jones said she was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, which also was untrue.
Over the past several years, friends and family say, Rupps-Jones has called herself a cancer survivor and the widow of a serviceman killed in action. She also said she lost a baby during a C-section. All of these assertions are untrue, they said.
During the KLTV interview, Rupps-Jones pleaded for donations for a diabetic alert dog, which can cost thousands of dollars.
The following Saturday, the First Christian Church in Jacksonville sponsored a fundraiser, raising more than $4,000. The money meant for an aid dog was, instead, used for everyday expenses, former friends of Rupps-Jones said.
The dog, “Yankee” was partially donated to Miller, as the owners charged only $500.
In an interview with Rupps-Jones, Tarrant County Sheriff's Office Detective Michael Weber asked if she ever used attention-seeking behavior.
“For me, maybe,” she said. “But I don't need anything for my daughter.”
All suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty.