A Texas mom is accused of poisoning her 4-year-old daughter with Benadryl in order to fake a seizure disorder, according to court documents.
Jesika Lynne Jones, 30, was arrested on Wednesday by the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was jailed on suspicion of abandoning or endangering a child and injury to a child with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.
Investigators suspect Jones overdosed her daughter with Benadryl in order to induce body tremors and “mimic” seizures, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Oxygen.com. For years, authorities say, the Texas mother falsely attempted to have her daughter diagnosed with a seizure disorder.
In June, a child abuse pediatrician from the Cook Children’s Medical Center reported suspicions that Jones was “poisoning” her daughter with Benadryl, according to authorities.
Photo: Tarrant County Sheriff's Office
Investigators say Jones took her daughter to the hospital several times due to seizure-like symptoms. In the past year alone, the toddler was admitted at four separate times for medical care. Medical staff found Benadryl in the 4-year-old’s system during past visits, however, the test results were returned after the mother-daughter had departed the hospital.
Jones’ daughter was admitted to Cook Children’s Medical Center for the fourth time on June 19. This time, however, hospital staff ordered a 24-hour turnaround on test results for Benadryl. Urine samples subsequently indicated the presence of the drug. Separate tests indicated the child was negative for seizure activity.
While staying at the hospital, detectives suspect that Jones continued to brazenly poison her daughter with Benadryl during trips to the bathroom.
On June 20, surveillance cameras captured the Texas mother taking her daughter to the bathroom. While in the restroom, authorities allege Jones administered Benadryl that had been stored in her purse to the 4-year-old. An hour after returning to her bed, the young girl experienced full body tremors, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and was unable to stand — symptoms, doctors said, that were indicative of a Benadryl overdose. One physician concluded the child had been given a “very high dose” to produce such symptoms.
According to one of the child’s doctors, the alleged poisoning put Jones’ daughter at a heightened risk of seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory issues, and coma — all of which could be potentially fatal. Four-year-olds are not supposed to take Benadryl and similar medications, unless directed by a physician, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Days later, Jones allegedly blurted out “I haven’t given Benadryl in months,” referring to her daughter, without being prompted, in the presence of medical staff, according to the arrest warrant.
Under questioning, Jones denied overmedicating her daughter with Benadryl for the purpose of inducing seizures in the young girl. Jones, who admitted to giving her daughter Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Benadryl in the past, later provided conflicting accounts of the last time she gave Benadryl to her daughter, according to the warrant. She told investigators the last time she administered Benadryl to the girl was for an ant bite a week prior. Jones also maintained she never gave her daughter Benadryl at the hospital, claiming she kept the drug in her purse for allergy reasons.
She claimed her daughter began having seizure episodes beginning in November 2021. Jones also stated the toddler was speech-delayed, born prematurely, had tubes in her ears due to recurrent ear infections, and was previously allergic to milk.
Jones, however, ultimately broke down under questioning and admitted to overmedicating her daughter with Benadryl to induce seizure-like symptoms, according to authorities. The 30-year-old allegedly confessed to giving her daughter four or five 25 milligram Benadryl tablets prior to past hospitalizations. She also allegedly admitted to giving the 4-year-old four tablets the day doctors and authorities suspect she poisoned her daughter in the hospital bathroom on June 20.
She also confessed to previously misleading investigators and described herself as a “habitual liar,” according to the affidavit.
“I think I’m a horrible person,” Jones allegedly told law enforcement. “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. I don’t know. I really don’t. I just know I need help. I really do. I want help.”
Investigators also seized an empty pill bottle of sedative and antidepressant Trazodone, as well as a bottle of Hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, which was missing 64 pills from Jones’ purse.
Her daughter’s urine sample later revealed trace amounts of both medications. Jones ultimately admitted to administering one pill each of Trazodone and Hydroxyzine to her daughter two separate times, the warrant alleged.
Detectives later interviewed a man who used to live with Jones, who stated he’d never witnessed her daughter having displayed any symptoms of a seizure disorder. He did, however, disclose that he previously reported Jones to Child Protective Services a number of times over concerns of “Munchausen Syndrom by proxy.” Those case reports, however, were ruled inconclusive.
Munchausen by proxy, a psychological disorder also known as factitious disorder imposed on another, is when a person — often a parent or guardian — falsely claims that another individual, usually a family member in their care, has an invented medical condition or illness, typically for the purpose of deceiving others.
Another man, who had gone on a number of dates with Jones, also described her as a “con woman,” the case’s warrant alleged.
Jones, who hasn't yet officially been charged, is being held on a $10,000 bond at a Tarrant County detention facility, per online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. It’s unclear if she’s retained legal counsel to comment on her behalf.