From the Heartland: A Tale of Two Mothers

April 5, 2011 Updated: April 5, 2011


The first mother was sentenced in Michigan last week for swindling money through her son’s faked cancer. Last year, Carol Schnuphase shaved her son’s head and eyebrows to mimic the effects of chemotherapy. To lend greater credibility to a ruse that raked in thousands of dollars in donations, Schnuphase deliberately fed her 12-year-old boy foods she knew he was allergic to, and regularly spiked his applesauce with opiates. The fraud was so convincing, even the boy believed he had leukemia.

Compare this story to Maryanne Godboldo’s. She’s another Michigan mother who last year was working with a doctor to get a series of immunization shots for her formally homeschooled daughter so she could enter the Detroit public education system. But over the course of treatment, Godboldo noticed that her 13-year-old was exhibiting negative reactions to the shots.

The daughter had no history of mental or behavioral problems, yet her doctor also prescribed an anti-psychotic medication (known to have side-effects such as seizures, cancer, tumors, stroke, and even death). The drug only made the girl’s symptoms worse.

After several months on the medication, the daughter’s symptoms continued to intensify. So a concerned Godboldo decided to take her to another doctor who recommended stopping the psychotropic drug. Her symptoms improved soon after.

Can you see the difference between the two mothers? While it may seem pretty obvious, authorities are having trouble distinguishing between good maternal care and psychopathic abuse. Both children are now in state custody.

Because Godboldo didn’t continue to follow the advice of the first doctor, Detroit Child Protective Services (CPS) came knocking at her door. Because a mother choose to take her daughter off a dangerous and hallucination inducing medication—a treatment plan that she was not under any court order to follow—authorities demanded that Godboldo give up her 13-year-old girl. Like any good mother, Godboldo resisted the ridiculous request.

So authorities turned up the heat. A Detroit Special Response Team fortified with a tank, armored vehicles, and various assault weapons returned to the Godboldo home. Because a mother wouldn’t needlessly drug her child, CPS declared war.

According to the Detroit News, after a 10-hour standoff last week against the heavily armed backdrop, Wayne Circuit Judge Deborah Thomas and other negotiators finally convinced Godboldo to relinquish her child. Thomas explained that she appealed to Godboldo with a promise that her daughter would be turned over to the care of a relative. Godboldo conceded, but according to family members the girl has since been in state custody.

There seems to be a bit of mystery surrounding this case. Police allege the mother fired a warning shot from inside her home when they came to take her child, but Godboldo’s attorney denies it. Authorities claim they had a warrant, but Godboldo said they refused to reveal it. However, what’s not in dispute is the use of a small army to demand that a girl take a drug designed for issues she didn’t have.

But why strongly enforce the unwelcome drugging of a child? In their report of the story, Voice of Detroit (VOD) talked to Starletta Banks who filed a suit in federal court in 2005 after CPS nabbed her three young children under similar questionable circumstances. Banks claims that the state kidnapped her children, and many others throughout the country, for money.

“The sole reasons that children are being stolen from their families and homes are the financial incentives associated with each child and circumstance,” Banks told VOD. “There is federal grant money given to states and child placement agencies to create situations that do not exist to generate these funds. The state of Michigan is financially broke, thus surviving on the backs of our children.”

There’s a hearing scheduled for Wednesday and I hope it sheds light more light on the Godboldo case, because what I’ve read so far creates more questions than answers.

Does the state believe that good parenting means continuing to administer a powerful pharmaceutical and simply ignoring the side-effects? Would the state prefer that parents treat their children for diseases they don’t have? Is this case really about protecting the best interest of the girl, or is there a significant profit to be made by forcing a child into foster care?

Fake diseases? Financial incentives? Isn’t this why Carol Schnuphase went to jail?

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