The inherent trust a child places in their parents as protectors is a fundamental aspect of the parent-child relationship. Parents are perceived as the ultimate caregivers, safeguarding their children from harm. However, the stark contrast arises in disturbing cases where a mother intentionally inflicts harm upon her child, shattering the conventional perception of maternal care. This unsettling phenomenon takes center stage in the episode ‘Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry: Horror by Proxy,’ where the case of Wendi Scott is explored. The episode scrutinizes the disturbing circumstances and impulses that led her to cause harm to her four-year-old daughter.
Who are Sean and Wendi Scott?
Sean Scott and Wendi Ellis became acquainted during their high school years and subsequently tied the knot. Following their marriage, Sean enlisted in the US Army. While details about their early married life remain scant, notable events unfolded as the couple welcomed a daughter in 2003 and a son in 2005. However, troubling signs of Wendi’s behavior surfaced even before the birth of their children. Between 2002 and 2003, she falsely claimed to be battling cancer, adopting drastic measures such as shaving her eyebrows and head and relying on a wheelchair for mobility. This deceptive behavior seemed driven by a desire for attention and sympathy from her husband, friends, and family.
At the time, the deceptive nature of Wendi’s cancer claims remained undetected. However, matters took a turn for the worse when, in 2007, Wendi shifted her focus to her four-year-old daughter as a means to garner attention from others. Between May and June of that year, while the family resided in Fort Detrick, Wendi subjected her daughter to first-degree child abuse. Employing alarming methods, she poisoned her with magnesium and used syringes to extract blood from her body. She even took the ailing child to the hospital, where perplexed doctors struggled to identify the underlying issue plaguing her.
Approximately 50 doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center conducted an exhaustive battery of tests on the child to discern the cause of her persistent blood loss. Her blood levels dangerously dropped three times during this period, necessitating life-saving transfusions and she often suffered from symptoms like diarrhea, high heart rate, vomiting, and fever. Throughout this ordeal, Wendi maintained an online journal, sharing her experience as a parent navigating the challenges of her daughter’s unexplained illness. The journal chronicled the frustration and helplessness of not being able to identify the source of her little girl’s ailment despite the extensive efforts of medical professionals.
But then the truth of Wendi’s involvement came to light and she was the one to subsequently undergo criminal as well as medical proceedings. Her diagnosis included borderline personality disorder and factitious disorder, along with factitious disorder by proxy, among other mental illnesses. Factitious disorder involves feigning or exaggerating physical or psychological symptoms for attention or sympathy. Factitious disorder by proxy, in this case, suggests that she inflicted harm on her child to gain attention for herself. As a result of her actions, Wendi faced a total of fourteen charges, including first- and second-degree child abuse, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and other related charges. Following the legal proceedings, both of her children were removed from her custody and placed under the care of Wendi’s mother in Georgia.
Sean and Wendi Scott are Now Divorced
On March 13, 2008, Wendi opted for a plea deal and pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse that occurred from May to June 2007 concerning her daughter. As part of the agreement, the remaining fourteen charges, including assault and reckless endangerment, were dropped. In May 2008, she faced her sentence hearing, where the judge sentenced her to serve 15 years of her originally imposed 25-year sentence. Additionally, she was mandated to undergo intensive psychotherapy to address her mental illnesses.
In 2009, Sean was granted a divorce from Wendi. After a few years, he entered into a new relationship with a woman named Rachel, and the two eventually married. Establishing a home for themselves in Kentucky, he embarked on a new chapter in his life. In March 2016, Wendi sought to be removed from prison and placed on home detention, asserting her regular engagement in mental health practices and significant improvement. While the judge acknowledged her progress, they deemed it inappropriate to reduce or alter her sentence.
Wendi’s ex-husband, unable to attend the hearing due to his deployment in Afghanistan, conveyed his sentiments through a letter addressed to the judge. The contents of this letter, however, remained undisclosed. Sean’s wife, Rachel Scott, however, attended the hearing. At 48 years old, Wendi is currently serving her sentence at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. Specific details regarding her release or parole are not publicly available.