The attorney for an Asheville, North Carolina, woman accused of trying to kill her baby said he wants her evaluated and treated for postpartum depression and possibly postpartum psychosis.
That’s according to the Asheville Citizen Times.
The newspaper reported that Krista Madden could be transferred from jail to a mental health facility for an evaluation if a judge approves a consent order.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said Madden falsely claimed she and her 7-week-old daughter were kidnapped. The baby, named Shaylie, was later found in a ravine.
A neighbor of Madden’s first told authorities she was missing. The caller said Madden had sent them a text saying she was abducted while walking her baby and was in the trunk of her car.
Madden’s infant daughter was found in a ravine a few hours later.
The caller suspected the kidnapping may not have been real, saying, “I don’t know if this is a hoax.”
Investigators determined it was a hoax and charged Madden with attempted murder. The caller told the dispatcher “[Madden] is a very responsible person. She’s got a job.”
The dispatcher asked if Madden had any mental health issues. The caller said, “She had a baby…ya know, she’s been a little down.”
According to psychiatrist Dr. Carson Felkel, postpartum depression can go on for weeks.
“Typical symptoms would be sadness, irritability or withdrawal associated with other symptoms like insomnia or changes in appetite or interest,” he said.
Madden’s attorney told the Citizen Times he wants her to be evaluated and treated for postpartum depression and possibly postpartum psychosis not to mount a defense, but so she can get help.
“When one’s experiencing a postpartum psychotic episode, they lose touch with reality,” Dr. Felkel said.
According to Dr. Felkel, postpartum psychosis is rare.
“It’s a biological brain condition that affects about one to two women out of a thousand,” he said,
He said women experiencing postpartum psychosis will typically hear voices or have delusions, including feeling suspicious or even manic, like they’re on top of the world.
“The real concern is when women believe to feel that perhaps their baby would be better off dead then having to live in this world and they hear a voice telling them that, and so it may lead some women to want to hurt their baby,” he said.
He said women who are experiencing postpartum psychosis are in the midst of a medical emergency and need to be treated immediately.