Attorneys defend mom accused of abusing alleged terminally-ill child

An investigation into the abuse of a young boy who his mother claimed he was terminally ill has led to her arrest.

Danita Tutt is facing injury to a child charges after Fort Worth police say she abused her 13-year-old son, Colby.

In April, Colby got a surprise visit from WWE wrestler Erick Rowan while his mom said he was in hospice care at home. The young wrestling fan even received a family trip to WrestleMania in Arlington.

Friends and family say Danita is a mother who was dedicated to the comfort and care of her terminally ill son.

"She went from doing everything she can to help her child to Marshals knocking at her door and saying, ‘You're under arrest,’” said Danita’s attorney, Lisa Powell.

Child Protective Services removed Colby and his younger brother from their parents’ home. They're living with their maternal grandparents.

Documents to remove Colby from his home said “his medical condition is not terminal.”

The documents also said there is reason to believe, “Colby's mother was fabricating and/or exaggerating his symptoms and intentionally withholding nutrition and fluids that he was willingly able to take and could tolerate.”

"Each of these documents is certification by a physician that the child was in fact terminal,” said Danita’s attorney, Christopher Cooke.

Danita’s attorneys say doctors also signed a ‘do not resuscitate’ order. They say authorities began building a case against the mother after the parents moved Colby out of hospice because she wanted a second opinion.

"They investigated over several months,” said Tamara Valle with the Fort Worth Police Department. “They did find the mother was somehow harming the child, and that's why she was arrested."

Danita is charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury. The arrest warrant affidavit said “Danita asked [doctors] if there was just something they could give Colby to make him go to sleep and not wake up.”

Police say they also discovered a headstone and casket for Colby had been purchased. Danita’s attorneys say that advice came from the hospice.

"They are the ones that recommended that they make arrangements,” said Powell. "She relied solely on the doctors for her actions and behavior."

Danita’s attorneys say her father is a retired Fort Worth police detective, and even then CPS tried and failed to remove the children from his custody.

"Her life will never be the same,” said Cooke. “Even if she's exonerated of all charges, she's going to carry this black mark around."

Police say Colby has improved since he was removed from his parents’ home.

Doctors say there is a condition in which some parents seek attention over a sick child. Danita’s attorneys said the very idea in her case is ridiculous.

Danita Tutt bonded out of jail. Her children remain with her parents.

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