Christmas is going to be really special this year in Ryan Crawford’s household. The Texas dad was granted temporary managing conservatorship of his 8-year-old son after the boy’s mother was accused of forcing the perfectly healthy child to undergo numerous invasive procedures, including 13 major surgeries.
The Star-Telegram reports that Christopher Bowen will soon be living with his father because a judge ruled in Crawford’s favor Wednesday after an agreement was reached by all parties.
“God answers prayers. We’ve been praying for eight years,” Nelly Crawford, Christopher’s grandmother, told the news site. “We’re so happy. This is a day we’ll never forget and celebrate. Y’all rest assured, he’s going to be well taken care of because he is loved.”
Crawford has long suspected that Christopher’s mother, Kaylene Bowen, was lying about the young boy’s health and has been fighting to gain custody of his son for years. He went through all the motions, filed reports with Texas Child Protective Services and went before judge after judge in family court, only to be treated as an oblivious father. At one point in 2012, when Christopher was 3, a judge even blocked Crawford from seeing his son.
But now Crawford is getting some vindication. Bowen is facing charges of injury to a child with serious bodily injury after being accused of medical child abuse, also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a parent exaggerates or creates a child’s medical symptoms to get attention.
Bowen lost custody of Christopher and her two other children, Christopher’s half-siblings, after medical providers raised concerns with CPS in November, the second time that such a report has been made since 2015.
Bowen, who denied the allegations, is currently free after a judge agreed to lower her bond from $150,000 to $25,000. However, she was ordered not to have any contact with a minor child.
As previously reported, Bowen, who also goes by the name Bowen-Wright, claimed for years that Christopher was dying, first from a rare genetic order, then from cancer. She attempted to get the child on a lung-transplant list and even previously had Christopher in hospice care.
Crawford tried in vain to show the court system that there was something wrong with his son’s mother, but Bowen apparently played on the sympathies of those around her.
“It was always the same story: Christopher is dying. The father doesn’t need to be around because he doesn’t know to take care of him,” Crawford recalled a crying Bowen telling the judges. “Every time I went to court, they made me feel like I was the worst human ever.”
In that time, Bowen put Christopher through 13 major surgeries and dragged the little boy to 323 hospital visits.
But since Christopher was removed from his mother’s custody last month, it has been proved that he is a perfectly healthy 8-year-old who only has to take medication for allergies.
But even then, Crawford still had to fight to be a part of his son’s life. CPS put the child in foster care, saying that Christopher did not know his dad well enough to live with him. Crawford was allowed supervised visits over the past month.
On Wednesday, CPS finally stopped with the bullshit and recommended to Associate Judge C. Andrew Ten Eyck that Christopher be placed with his father. That process should be completed by Friday, according to the Star-Telegram.
Under the agreement reached by both parties on Wednesday, Bowen is not allowed any contact with any of her children and must undergo physiological and psychiatric evaluations, as well as counseling. She must also participate in a parenting class.
Crawford and Christopher will also be undergoing individual and family therapy.
Neither party is permitted to discuss facts of the case with the media or post photographs of Christopher or his half-siblings on social media.
But to Crawford it is all worth it to finally have his son and the support of the community after being denied and rejected for so long.
“I had to do this all by myself for eight years. And for people to actually show their concern and be so welcoming ... it’s comforted me,” Crawford said. “It’s let me know that others are finally on board with what I have been saying and that Christopher has a tremendous amount of supporters.”
Crawford’s workplace even started a GoFundMe to help with his legal battle for his son; so far the campaign has raised just over $12,000 of a $25,000 goal.
But no doubt the best part of this for the Crawford family is that they finally get to spend some quality time with Christopher.
“I’ve already got him gifts,” Flora Crawford, Christopher’s great-grandmother, said. “That’s all I want is him.”
Read more at the Star-Telegram.