Child's Rare Bone Disease Leads to Mistaken Charges Against Dad

·Claudine Zap

It all started with a simple diaper change.

Andrew Huber heard his infant daughter’s hip pop and immediately took her to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Tests revealed that little Kenley, just 3 months old during that hospital visit in August 2012, had multiple fractures.

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Doctors determined the fractures to be “non-accidental injury” and diagnosed "suspected physical abuse of a child," according to local Dallas affiliate WFAA, which first reported the story.  When Andrew's wife, Bria Huber, who had been in Chicago on a business trip, returned that night, she was told by police that her husband was to blame. 

“I am the mom before I’m the wife,” Bria Huber tells Yahoo Shine, recalling what she told the authorities at the time. “I can’t fathom this, but I’ll do whatever it takes.”

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Bria Huber was up that night, going through every moment of her life with Andrew, her husband of six years, as well as his time with their newborn. She realized, “This can’t be.”

The next day, she began challenging the doctors’ ruling, asking them to do more testing.

“I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Andrew Huber tells Yahoo Shine. “The only explanation was something was wrong with Kenley. That was the only way to explain what had happened.” The couple hired a lawyer, but on Feb. 28, Andrew Huber was indicted by a Denton County Grand Jury.

Bria Huber was allowed to move to her parents’ Houston home to keep custody of her daughter and be supervised “at all times.” Her husband was allowed to see his daughter only if a court-appointed supervisor was present. And Bria Huber began a months-long process of trying to uncover Kenley's medical condition.

Through a remote connection, Bria Huber met another North Texas couple, Rana and Chad Tyson. “Our stories are identical,” Rana Tyson, a 33-year-old nurse, tellsYahoo Shine. Tyson lost custody of her twin girls when they were 4 weeks old, after one was found to have multiple unexplained fractures.

The Tysons' three daughters were put under the care of grandparents for five months, until the twins were eventually diagnosed with a connective-tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which causes bones to be especially susceptible to fractures.

"One of the main symptoms is the underlying structure of the body, including the bones and joints, is fragile. So you get more fractures,” Dr. Golder Wilson, the Dallas geneticist who diagnosed the Tyson twins, told Dallas station WFAA. “And therefore, just handling a baby routinely, like any parent would do, can lead to a fracture."

With this new information, Bria Huber found out that she actually has the disorder herself. “I had all these crazy symptoms throughout my life,” she says. “I can dislocate any joint in my body.” Her daughter was also diagnosed with EDS in July and, on Oct. 2, the case against Andrew Huber was dismissed.

Children's Medical Center did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation, 1.5 million people worldwide suffer from the syndrome. As for parents of kids with EDS who have been wrongly accused of child abuse, the organization notes on its Facebook page, “We're gathering information to find ways to help parents.”

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