According to ABC News Health’s article Mom Who Said She Injected Her 8-Year-Old Daughter With Botox Fights to Keep Her Daughter, the mother accused of injecting her 8 year-old daughter with Botox states she made the whole story up for money. A week after Child Protective Services (CPS) removed Upton’s daughter from her home, this mom now says that the whole story was fabricated.
Many people were astonished when they heard about this mother who proudly declared that she injected her daughter with Botox in an effort to help her compete in child beauty pageants. The eight year-old claimed that her facial lines were a problem and that the cosmetic procedure helped her look prettier. CPS phone lines rang off the hook as people voiced outrage over this news story.
Now it appears the whole thing may have been a hoax. Ms. Upton claims she staged the injection scene and lied for money for the news story. As a result, Ms. Upton’s daughter is now out of the home and CPS is still investigating.
When I initially read this story, my first thought was “how stupid.” Even if she believed Botox helped her daughter compete in pageants, the extent of her efforts were inappropriate. But I have represented many parents who have made oddball and just plain dumb mistakes that led to CPS investigations that were remediated with some parenting instruction. Maybe this mom just got caught up or was living vicariously through her daughter. While this case was extreme, we all know parents who have unfortunately pushed a kid too hard to do something the parents always wanted to do- be it a sport, an academic pursuit or even a career. Maybe, I thought, this mom just wasn’t very bright and was influenced by the madness of pageant people.
Now I’m not sure. If Upton did make up this story for the money, what was she thinking? Of course CPS would end up investigating these claims. Upton took a great, great risk in participating in this hoax and exposed her child to this embarassing ordeal. The financial motivation may offend many but doesn’t particularly offend me in light of the graphic and horrific exploitation that takes placed with children around the world. Upton’s exploitation of her kid for money is comparatively benign but dumb nonetheless, if this was all a hoax.
But the criminal defense attorney in me really wonders if the “hoax” claim is too made up. Now that Upton knows how offended everybody is over Botoxing an 8 year-old, a hoax claim may be her best defense.
Lauren K Johnson represents parents in child abuse and neglect cases, in criminal and juvenile court, throughout Southern California. Contact us for more information.