Kansas City woman fighting Illinois custody battle after son's hospital visit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Child abuse allegations turned into a custody battle after a hospital visit, according to a Kansas City mother.

Michelle Rider’s 16-year-old son Isaiah was born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder causing tumors to form on nerve tissue.

She took her son to Kansas City hospitals until he needed a specialist. Eventually, Isaiah was taken to Chicago to Lurie Children's Hospital.

Two months ago, Michelle said she wanted to send Isaiah to another hospital.

“These are our children. If they're not getting help we should have the right to a second opinion without fear or without our child being taken from us,” she said.

Child Protective Services took Isaiah into Illinois State custody, Michelle explained over a Skype interview. The hospital claimed she showed signs of Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, also known as medical child abuse.

It’s a claim Rider’s father finds ridiculous.

“My daughter's a very loving human being. [She] has done nothing but take care of her son for the last 16 years,” Gary Rider said.

Michelle stayed in Chicago attending hearings and is now now waiting to see if she can bring her son back home to Kansas City.

“A lot of fear, not knowing, my son is in a stranger's home, it's been very difficult,” she said.

Michelle said she and her family don’t understand.

“It's been excruciating. The fact that a hospital can take the action to take my grandson away from my daughter is just unbelievable,” Gary said.

Some friends and family members traveled to Chicago to support Michelle for what they hoped would be a final court hearing.

“She's not accused of any criminal wrongdoing yet they're taking the most precious thing she has, her son,” Gary said.

Lurie Children’s Hospital couldn’t comment on the individual case.

Isaiah’s hearing to determine if he can come home or stay in Illinois will be next Tuesday.

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