Where Media Coverage Has Shown Itself To Be Irresponsible,
Inaccurate, Selective, and Biased
by: Friends of Cindy Lyda

PREMISE: Due to the brazenly partial media coverage of the above case, Cynthia Lyda has been tried and convicted in and by the media before any final hearings or trials take place. Public opinion has been roused to the point that no judge or jury can make an objective ruling.

To The San Antonio Express News:
You Have Been Snared By Your Own Words, To-wit:

(Main editorial, page 4B)
Thursday, November 11, 1999

Our Turn

Stations Abdicated Prime Responsibility

Media who aired unconfirmed, incomplete information
created panic and lost credibility.

(Concerning a shooting on the premises of a local school)….Two local television stations…and one radio station…did not exercise the elementary precautions of their craft: verifying information before releasing it to the public. The reports went uncorrected for as long as 15 minutes.

The misjudgments were bad enough, both for the credibility of the stations and for the viewers and listeners who trusted them. But even worse was an attempt by (a station) to justify the mistake.

The (station) news director had the nerve to venture, "It would have been highly irresponsible to wait on this." That is an incredible pronouncement with which we beg to strongly differ.

Primary responsibilities of media are to sort rumor from truth and to provide accurate information so that just the kind of needless panic that was created can be avoided. (Emphasis added.)

How much better—and more accurate—if he had said: "We messed up really badly, abdicated the faith that viewers placed in us, and we are sorry…."

This editorial appeared two days after an 11/09/99 "Metro Briefs" article was printed on page two of the Metro & State Section of the Express News by an unnamed reporter who had sat in on a civil trial concerning Paul Lyda and his visitation rights with his children. It was discovered that the reporter was one Alfred Pescara, whose article not only described the purpose and outcome of the hearing but also contained absolutely nothing of any truth concerning Cynthia Lyda, to wit:

Husband is seeking more access to kids

Attorneys for Paul Lyda, husband of a woman federal prosecutors contend killed one of her children and caused permanent brain damage to another*, went to court Monday asking to extend the visitation rights he has with his children. (See paragraph 5 under "More Facts….")

….Cynthia Lyda, presently in federal custody, has been diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. The condition causes caretakers to repeatedly injure their wards for the purpose of ministering them back to health.

A federal court found Cynthia Lyda purposely killed one child and permanently injured another, both from a previous marriage. She is to be sentenced in February.

The article goes on to describe the events and outcome of the hearing. Notice that the words in Italics in the first paragraph are totally out of context and inappropriate*. The rest in Italics have absolutely no truth to them, indicating that in no way did Mr. Pescara do proper research from his paper’s archives or records of previous articles on the federal case. Furthermore, even his description of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, also in Italics, is incomplete. In the alleged condition of MSBP, the individual in question supposedly injures or causes harm, which then enables them to nurse their child or patient back to health in order to look like a heroic mother or caretaker and gain attention and accolades. However, please note that this has not been officially recognized as a concrete diagnoses in the journal of psychiatry, DSM IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition – sort of the "bible" of the psychiatry field). The term is mentioned in the "Addendum" as a theory, however.

The various experts have great discrepancies in their opinions as to its validity or in whose area of expertise it actually belongs, psychiatry, pediatrics, or psychology. There are even those whose opinion is that it is a totally bogus diagnosis, such as prominent, widely used expert, Dr. Eric Mart, who testified in federal court in Cynthia’s decisive favor (read about him on the Internet, especially at under "Heart to Heart"). Even if it were, in fact, provable, it is not the mother or caretaker "who has it." The term would apply to the victim. (Please further note that the English doctor, Dr. Southall, known as "Mr. Munchausen," who literally began this trend of MSBP accusations has become the subject of criminal investigation in England. His "witch hunts" destroyed the lives and families of many mothers, as shown not long ago on an Australian "20/20" documentary. (You can check this on the above Web site.) In fact, from Dr. Mart’s description in court, and because of the widely disputed opinions on the topic, the very terminology of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is more accurately described as "psycho-babble!" This large shadow of doubt as to the logic of the term and its application is underscored by the weight of evidence that such terminology is conveniently applied by doctors once they have incurred a threatened lawsuit from a parent in upwards of 80% of the cases of MSBP accusations! (See 05/04/99 Express News article, "Lawyer blasts ‘disease du jour’," by Gloria Padillo.)

To the Express News’ credit, in an inconspicuous corner of the second page on the same date as the editorial quoted on page 1, there was a retraction of Mr. Pescara’s seriously defective report under "Setting it Straight." (It is not indicated who initiated the retraction, the paper or the reporter.)

To quote:

In Tuesday’s Metro & State section (under "METROBRIEFS") a story regarding Cynthia Lyda incorrectly stated a federal court’s findings against her. Lyda actually pleaded guilty on four counts of injury to a child, all related to her son Joseph Martinez. Three of the counts were third-degree felonies. She was under investigation in Arizona for the deaths of two children, but was not charged in federal court. (Emphasis added.)

The retraction fell far short of correcting the numerous errors in Mr. Pescara’s misguided article, or of undoing serious damage to Cynthia Lyda in the eyes of those who missed the retraction. There is, however, one refreshing and commendable feature of this retraction: Thankfully, it does not refer to Cynthia Lyda as "The Munchausen Mom," as has been erroneously and repetitively done ad nauseam by reporters in all areas of the media. Talk about deliberately biasing the public!! Not only has Judge Specia never officially substantiated that "diagnosis", either in the heated Martinez divorce case, or in the civil custody case; but in the federal case, after due consideration, Judge Garcia disallowed its application to Cynthia. He, himself stated in court this was because of all the reasons already mentioned, namely, the totally unreliable, vague, unsubstantiated, and hotly disputed nature of the MSBP terminology itself. The media just doesn’t seem to be able to catch hold of this truth, or maybe even refuses to acknowledge such. In either event, they are acting irresponsibly by failing, to quote The Express News, to, "sort rumor from truth and to provide accurate information…." Isn’t it about time for them to admit to the public that, "(w)e have messed up really badly, abdicated the faith that viewers (and readers) placed in us, and we are sorry…?" The complete, unaltered and unedited facts of this case from both prosecution and defense perspectives as unfolded in each court procedure at both civil and federal levels, deserve priority headline coverage, in light of all that has thus far been publicized. Inasmuch as the sentencing hearing begins February 14th (possibly even the 18th), time is of the essence in order to remedy the enormous wrong done against justice and Mrs. Lyda, as well against her precious family. Here are the points needing to be published:

  • Said MSBP "diagnosis" is only in reference to comments by one state-paid doctor, Dr. Patrick Holden. By his own admission on the stand, he is not an expert on the topic, and he came to his opinion based solely on 18 pages of medical notes written by Dr. Kerr, which were provided to him by CPS, which is validated in a memo between him and CPS. Even so, CPS, via the State, obstinately refuses to concede the issue, since it probably would cost them the whole custody case.
  • The media continually fails to report the fact that four other doctors, specialists in their fields, solidly opposed that diagnosis with regard to Cynthia in both civil and federal courts. Yet there has never been a retraction regarding the constant use of "Munchausen Mom" or reference of MSBP in regard to Cynthia, nor have there been any retractions of other misinformation, except in the one described herein (re Mr. Pescara’s article). In fact, such false information continues to be perpetuated.
  • Furthermore, Dr. Susan Palmer, a highly regarded geneticist at University Hospital, testified under oath in the civil matter that Cynthia has a validated Mitochondrial disorder, which would, by nature, have been genetically passed down to her children. The symptoms described in the Martinez boys are being touted as result of Cynthia’s harmful actions, but are very indicative of such genetic disorder. Little has been said about this fact, so little, as to obfuscate it altogether.
  • In reference to the "Metro Brief" article about Paul Lyda’s request for extended visitation rights, it was accurately reported that the State demanded more time to review Mr. Lyda’s psychological records, which Judge Specia granted. These records were from a second round of testing by Dr. Joanne Murphy, whose favorable report had been submitted to the Court and CPS. It was CPS who demanded the second set of expensive tests. CPS then insisted that its psychiatrist, Dr. Peredes, who had earlier tested Paul, review these tests. Dr. Peredes previously claimed Paul would not be fit to safely parent the children owing to "not being in touch with reality," inasmuch as he did not acknowledge his wife’s alleged MSBP and therefore would not protect the children from her.
  • In the 11/07/99 hearing, Dr. Peredes insisted on being able to review the raw data from the provided report, which was subsequently sent to him. In the following week’s rescheduled hearing, before the hearing could begin, Dr. Peredes admitted that he agreed with Dr.Murphy’s findings. (In the previous week, even Judge Specia had reminded the State that he doubted that Dr. Peredes would have any problems with Dr. Murphy’s findings, as she is one of the most, if not the most, respected psychiatrists used by the State courts). To quote Dr. Peredes, "I stick by my original diagnosis of Paul Lyda, but obviously he has changed." (Emphasis added.) Since Mr. Lyda’s position on his wife’s innocence has not changed, that was apparently a weak attempt by Dr. Peredes to "save face." (This exchange never made it into the media, either.) His position on the report left CPS no choice but to negotiate temporary Possessory Conservatorship of newborn Isabel Faith, whose case has been separated out from her brothers’. She was brought to Paul’s home that very evening of 11/19/99.
  • Even more importantly, this development leaves CPS only with the fragile thread of Dr. Holden’s disputed non-expert and weakly supported opinion of MSBP as a "diagnosis" in Cynthia’s case. This is very tenuous evidence upon which to terminate Cynthia’s parental rights, much less Paul’s. This is supposed to be determined in another postponed 03/06/00 civil trial date.
  • Incidentally, although of no small significance, at his request, Dr. Peredes’ own wife, a psychologist, tested Cynthia and found no evidence to sustain the diagnosis of MSBP. In addition, Dr. Murphy also tested Cynthia in 1997, and again, she found no evidence to support the MSBP claim against Cynthia. However, for obvious reasons, the prosecution introduced neither of these reports, which CPS hoped would support their case. Dr. Murphy’s favorable findings were to be raised by the defense in the custody case involving Benjamin.
  • Back to the subject of false information in Mr. Pescara’s initial 11/09/99 article. In reference to the federal charges against Cynthia Lyda regarding one deceased child (Aaron) and one permanently injured child (Daniel), the sentencing actually will involve only one child, Joseph, who is the subject of the four final indictments, as acknowledged in the retraction and described below. The Court absolutely did not find Cynthia guilty of anything! In light of public bias owing to the media’s coverage, after agonizing over the decision put before her, Cynthia agreed to a plea bargain arrangement, in order to eliminate 7 specious indictments that carried mandatory 99-year sentences. She thereupon did accept responsibility for four actions she never denied and without any intention to deliberately harm or put her child at risk. An explanation for her actions will be offered at sentencing.
  • Unfortunately, this plea arrangement has been held against her by the civil court prosecutors and by the staffs of the jails where she has been incarcerated since March of 1999. The media people have helped make sure of that by their on-going biased dissemination of misinformation since the lifting of Judge Garcia’s gag order. (Judge Garcia made reference in court, on record, of the responsibility he placed on the media for preventing an impartial jury trial, and at that point, he issued a gag order, which wasn’t lifted until a few months later. Too bad it didn’t last until the conclusion of all the proceedings. Justice would have been better served, and so would the public, which expects, trusts in, and deserves objective and honest reporting of the Truth in all matters of public information.)

That Mr. Pescara and the Rest of the Media and Public Need to Know

  • In Arizona there had originally been two investigations with regard to two Martinez children, but in reference to Aaron and Joshua, not Daniel. Joshua was the adopted son who had always-fatal Trisomy 18 since birth, with a life expectancy of only a couple of months, but who lived to be 28 months. The initial investigations were conducted by first the Feds, since Cynthia and David Martinez were military, then by the Mesa (Ariz.) police. Nothing came of Joshua’s case, despite even exhumation of the body for study. It was closed within a year. (The attending physician always stood by Cynthia in the entire matter.)
  • Fueled by David Martinez and his family, another State investigation was started in Arizona about Aaron. The Grand Jury found nothing substantial, so it never went to court. Aaron, born seriously premature at 34 weeks, failed to thrive from birth. With a severe congenital progressive neuro-muscular condition (indicative of both inherited Mitochondrial disorder and failure to thrive syndrome), along with seizures, he was transferred from the East Coast hospital, where he was born, to the Phoenix Children's Hospital, due to Mr. Martinez’ reassignment. There, Aaron was kept in isolation for a week of evaluation and total withdrawal from all previous medications. Subsequently, Aaron was placed in a highly supervised NICU unit, where parents were not allowed to stay the night, in contrast to the ICU unit at Wilford Hall. Despite intensive care supervision, tragically, little Aaron did die, much to Cynthia's trauma and grief, as it would be for any parent. Aaron's death certificate always read, and still does: "Death due to neuro-degenerative disease." The Federal indictment never included little Aaron!
  • The original indictment included false allegations about Daniel, who did suffer brain damage, but as a result of treatment by the doctors after an operation just a year before Joseph’s hospitalization. Subsequent to surgery, Daniel experienced apnea, which led to cardiac arrest, and consequently deprivation of oxygen and thus, brain damage. This was due to the fact that doctors placed him in an ordinary pediatric ward, rather than NICU, despite his history of apnea and an enlarged heart. In response to cardiac arrest, the staff on that floor lacked necessary specialized training to adequately deal with the emergency with sufficient dispatch, leading to deprivation of oxygen for too long a period. Had he been in NICU, this most likely would not have happened. It had no bearing on Cynthia Lyda’s bedside presence. (What caring and frantic mother would not constantly be at the side of her critically ill infant or child?)
  • On a few occasions, both Joseph and Daniel were at Wilford at the same time, due to several emergencies in Daniel's condition while Joseph was hospitalized. As a matter of fact, in the original article by Mr. Pescara, some of Daniel's conditions were mistakenly mixed in with the allegations about Joseph, such as "permanent brain damage" and "permanent injury", which is false regarding Joseph. Cynthia's fear over Joseph's deteriorating condition and frustration with the doctor's manner of care are perfectly normal and understandable to the reasonable person. (See article attached at end titled, "Academy says patients need watchdog agency," as well as other relevant articles about medical errors.)
  • However, the Federal Prosecutor did add Daniel to the extended 11 indictments, and Aaron was brought up in court with a contrived story about possible Ipecac poisoning by Cynthia, just to be incendiary. The evidence was so flimsy, the defending attorneys successfully discredited the prosecution’s supposed hair analysis evidence about Aaron (see subsequent article about inadequacy of hair analysis). Both references were solely attempts by the Feds to complicate and distort the case at hand regarding Joseph in order to deliberately place a biased cloud over Cynthia's case. Do you think that if the Feds had sufficient evidence she was actually guilty of such heinous crimes in those matters that they would have so easily allowed them to be totally dropped just to get Cynthia to plea bargain? Never! They knew they didn't have a case against her regarding either Aaron or Daniel, although they milked it for all it was worth prior to the agreed plea bargain, just to color the prosecution’s case as favorably as possible.
  • Joseph, just as Aaron and Daniel, also suffered from "failure to thrive" syndrome, possibly due to the trauma of extreme prematurity (30 weeks) which exacerbated the genetic condition passed on by Cynthia (more details follow). This led to the problems with his GI track, which resulted in his low weight and small size, as well as ultimate hospitalization at Wilford Hall. It was during this time that Cynthia’s alarm over Joseph’s condition kindled the debates over treatment between Cynthia and Dr. Kerr, whose action are discussed more in detail in the following section on civil case facts. (Cynthia’s own Mitochondria problems, verified by Dr. Palmer in the civil courtroom, include GI track difficulties, giving her all the more validity for concern.) It was also during this time that Dr. Kerr arranged for the hidden camera and then set about to evoke responses from Cynthia to justify his accusations to OSI—after the Martinez’ threat of lawsuit (this crucial point bears repeated emphasis, inasmuch as it fits the statistics in these MSBP accusation cases). Because of the impact of Dr. Kerr’s change of feed tube rate flow had on Joseph’s comfort), just as Dr. Kerr counted on, this led Cynthia to do the things listed in the final indictment (except for the motive), never denying it to anyone. There was no reason to deny them, as she was not aware of doing anything that would be construed as wrong or illegal. (Dr. Gong testified as to this video’s content in the civil court review of the video, discussed subsequently.)
  • Once Dr. Kerr had what he wanted, he confronted Cynthia in the room; HOWEVER, HE PERMITTED HER TO REMAIN IN THAT ROOM FOR ANOTHER 24 HOURS!! (If he was truly very worried about Joseph’s safety in his mother’s presence, why did he allow that?) From the beginning she was allowed to be with Joseph and to be involved in the treatment, in preparation for taking him home. What she did was always motivated out of a mother's love by trying to help her son, who was suffering from what Cynthia clearly recognized was a wrong treatment plan, which she continually entreated Dr. Kerr to reconsider. Since she could get no cooperation from Dr. Kerr, Cynthia, as a responsible, caring parent, was trying to protect Joseph, not harm him. In hindsight, in view of the unexpected consequences, she can see she probably made unwise choices, but not out of any vicious intention.

Civil Case: Myth's vs Truth

The Martinez divorce resulted because David, once Dr. Kerr made public his accusations against Cynthia, was warned by Air Force officials and CPS he could either choose his wife or his children (and career?). Neglecting his marriage covenant, he chose the coward’s way out instead of sticking by his wife he supposedly loved, for better or for worse. To strengthen his own position, David even invited to testify against Cynthia the very doctor whom, along with Cynthia, he had threatened to sue. That is when the now "infamous video" was first used as evidence to win his case, in which he not only got sole custody of the boys, but even was granted child support, despite his own well-paying job and living with his family! (Since that time, Mr. Martinez has deliberately violated several conditions of the divorce agreement with regard to Cynthia’s legal access to the children. He has been very vindictive in this entire matter, including, unfortunately, poisoning his oldest son’s mind against his mother with lies. Think of the harm he is doing to his own son! While Mr. Martinez has played quite the victim in all this, many who knew both of them prior to the divorce, including while the events with the boys were occurring, have an entirely different picture of his behavior and attitude.)

The civil matter arose out of much publicity stirred almost single-handedly by a series of front-page articles published by Mr. Rick Casey, followed by periodic coverage in his regular columns. When he first got wind of this matter, after the nasty divorce case David initiated, Mr. Casey flew out to Arizona to interview David Martinez and his family. This formed the basis of his selective "investigation" and incendiary public disclosure, catapulting Cynthia and Paul Lyda into a public arena that was never, ever anticipated. Although she had suffered much loss and agony, because of her children’s suffering and deaths, then because of total betrayal and abandonment by her then husband, Cynthia never realized what was brewing beneath the surface, thanks to Mr. Casey’s meddling.

Mr. Casey also became involved with Josephine Lyda, Paul’s long-alienated mother, who subsequently died of ravaging stomach cancer this past year. As a result of the connection between Josephine Lyda and Mr. Casey, more fuel was added to the fires of his one-sided expose’ (she was after custody of Gideon and Benjamin). It now has been since early 1997 that this whole matter exploded into the public arena by Rick Casey. He, as well as plenty of other media people, has been in almost all of the court proceedings, hearing all the evidence of both prosecution and defense sides. Yet not he, nor any of the other press there, has ever accurately or objectively reported the whole truth, totally avoiding anything favorable to Cynthia or contrary to the prosecution. By this deliberate omission, he—and each of the others-- has been guilty of manipulating the public into believing a lie! A lie that has unjustifiably caused great harm to Cynthia and Paul Lyda and to their children. (It is understood by some that a motivating goal of Mr. Casey’s is to have been able to write a book as a result of this case. If this is so, his thunder has been stolen out from under him, however, by a turn of events he didn’t count on in the federal case.)

Mr. Casey’s and the others’ omissions include the salient fact that during proceedings before Judge Peeples in the spring of 1998, incredibly self-incriminating statements were made from the stand, within his and several other reporters’ own hearing. Dr. Keith Kerr, who was the accusing doctor from Wilford Hall Pediatrics in Joseph's case and the chief decision maker with regard to Joseph's treatment plans, finally admitted under oath in cross examination, that he had turned up the rate of Joseph Martinez’s feeding tube flow to an uncomfortable level. This implicates the doctor in setting Cynthia up to respond with actions (blowing in the G-Tube). The hidden camera placed by OSI at Dr. Kerr’s request, for almost three weeks revealed nothing suspicious enough to suit his plan of accusing her. (This was only after Cynthia and her then-husband threatened to add him to a lawsuit filed earlier against Wilford Hall after Daniel's situation.) Dr. Kerr also admitted that what he did was at the very least unethical. Inasmuch as Cynthia’s federal "crime" was to "cause harm (pain) and to place Joseph at risk of endangerment", does it not seem odd that the Judge or even prosecutor, Faye Morgan, did not stop the proceedings to privately confront, even investigate the doctor for DOING THE EXACT SAME THING, ON PURPOSE, BUT WITH INTENTIONS OF FRAMING CYNTHIA AT THE EXPENSE OF CAUSING JOSEPH DISCOMFORT, IN ORDER TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM LITIGATION? Or that the federal prosecutors, who had been investigating Cynthia, did not pursue looking into this statement made by Dr. Kerr under oath? (Remember, as described below by Dr. Gong, the baby's writhing began before Cynthia touched the tube. Joseph’s discomfort concerned her, who, as the doctor anticipated, reacted by blowing in the tube. Curiously, this has never been explained by the press as being an emergency alternative in the absence of syringes (to inject air into the tube) in cases of blocked tubes. There are others who can testify that it is a method taught to mothers who are to be taking their G-tube babies home, which was the case in this matter. Furthermore, there were no syringes, for some strange reason, in Joseph’s room at the time. (Where is that diligent research that media people are supposed to perform before printing information as fact? Take note of the 12/19/99-news article in The Express News about admitted errors in VA hospitals, including feeding tube errors!)

What is especially interesting is that Dr. Kerr told Cynthia not to touch anything, all the while he was speeding up the flow rate, counting on her reaction. On the one hand, he was telling her that Joseph was being prepped to go home, hoping that she would do something to incriminate herself in order to keep Joseph there, as fitting the supposed profile of the debated MSBP disorder. When she did nothing along those lines, because she truly loved Joseph and was eager to take him home, Dr. Kerr set up the video scenario. Even after he entered the room, she explained willingly what she had done and why, and then he permitted her to remain in the room another 24 hours while OSI and CPS planned their strategy. If he was truly convinced she would cause Joseph harm, wouldn’t he have taken her from the room immediately? Or at least stationed a watch over her?

Contrary to another of the 11/11 article's false statements, the blowing into the tube did not cause grave pain or injury, nor does Joseph have any permanent consequential damage. Cynthia's only motive was to stop the discomfort Joseph was already in because of the excessive feeding tube flow, brought on by Dr. Kerr's surreptitious actions. And yet the doctor’s astounding admissions, possibly the very key to unraveling both the civil and federal cases against Cynthia, never made it into any news stories, including Mr. Casey’s columns!! Why is it that this news-breaking story never got one moment’s attention, much less headline news?

It was during the 1998 hearing before Judge Peeples, who also heard Dr. Kerr's admission, that Cynthia’s neonatal physician, Dr. Alice Gong reviewed, along with the courtroom, the "infamous" video that has purposely had the public gasping in horror at each airing and buying into her supposed "guilt". As already indicated previously, she most nonchalantly commented about each scene. Dr. Gong pointed to the baby's discomfort before Cynthia had moved, except that Cynthia was stroking him in an effort to comfort Joseph. Dr. Gong also drew attention to the blocked formula in the tube. She described the three small puffs administered twice in a row by Cynthia. In response to the Judge's question as to harm, Dr. Gong testified in the presence of the courtroom (including reporters), that any possible harm caused by blowing into the tube would be very minimal and transitory, and would pass in the same manner as in anyone else. Cynthia was not huffing and puffing after all as the State would have had the Court believe! (By the way, inasmuch as there was no sound to accompany the video scenes, there was room for much more conjecture on the part of Cynthia’s accusers. Had sound been included, there probably would never have been a basis for any accusations, for Cynthia’s verbalizations would have accompanied her actions. The same could be assumed about any sounds of distress Joseph was making prior to the tube blowing incident. Also please note that at no point were there any alarms recorded going off to indicate what she was doing was causing a problem for Joseph, either then or in the 62-second removal of the trache tube.)

According to one fairly accurate Express News report by Melissa Prentice the next day following Dr. Gong’s testimony, headlined "Doctor finds mom's actions OK" the reporter writes, "Dr. Alice Gong said it does not appear Lyda injured her son in the video." She is further quoted in the same article (nowhere near the front page, by the way), "If the tube was blocked, blowing in it would help the child."!!! (Emphasis added.) Nowhere else was this printed or spoken, nor was there a retraction of any false accusations repeatedly made in court or in the media after all this time, despite the Express News’ own recent recommendations to the broadcasting stations for their blunder on the school shooting. One could suspect that the media is in cahoots with the State by painting Cynthia to be a hideous and cruel, devious mom, considered "guilty until proved innocent." A CPS person actually made this statement to Cynthia in the beginning, and this has proven to be true in not only Cynthia Lyda’s case, but in every other MSBP case on record. This is totally contrary to the basic Civil Right of every American citizen to be considered innocent until proven guilty! (In fact, Judge Garcia, in addressing Cynthia Lyda as she was about to accept the plea agreement in court, reminded her that she was innocent until proven guilty, nor did she have to establish her innocence!) CPS’s quoted comments in the news, touted as "fact," as well as the media’s very highly biased coverage has totally negated the case from having a fair jury (see Judge Garcia's statement subsequently discussed). Why is it that CPS’ and Faye Morgan’s statements have always been quoted as being the truthful authority? Where has been the use of the word, "Allegedly?"

As far as any contradictory comments by the defense attorneys in both court proceedings, for good reason there is a total lack of trust in the press or networks to accurately report defense statements. There is a practice in today’s news-making media to massage information given so as to create whatever impression is intended, and this includes selective use of information and comments offered. Anyone who has ever had something quoted in the press has surely experienced surprise when they heard their own "quote" on the air or saw it in print, or discovered massive amount of editing that totally alters what had actually been stated. The media has justifiably earned this reputation and distrust, and this is why the defense attorneys have turned down each offer for an interview, because they rightly expect to be misquoted. (Where did objective reporting fade into history? Even William Randolph Hearst, purported scalawag as he was, called upon the press to have, "its aims…high, and its ethics pure." That certainly seems lacking in today’s media.)

More Notable Points of Interest

As another point: when Cynthia left, Dr. Kerr was not only noticed on the same video used against Cynthia, while turning the feeding tube flow back down, but he changed his treatment plan, including replacing and rearranging the position of the trachea tube, just as Cynthia had been begging for. Dr. Kerr, who, only after the threatened lawsuit, also called her requests "interference" in his accusations against Cynthia, had all along resisted these changes in treatment. Eventually, shortly afterward, he, too, left Wilford Hall, presumably going into private practice, with no accountability ever required despite his admissions under oath. He claimed that as soon as Cynthia had been banned, Joseph got better. The truth is, during Dr. Kerr's remainder there, Joseph was not getting better, according to viewed medical records, some of which are now supposedly mysteriously "missing" (at least according to the Air Force hospital). Mr. Michael Mery, then attorney for Paul Lyda, also brought this out in cross-examination. In response to Dr. Kerr’s admission of having left Wilford Hall shortly as well, Mr. Mery brought courtroom laughter with his query, "Doctor, with all due respect, does that mean that you have Munchausen, too?" Could it be Dr. Kerr was trying different treatments because of Joseph’s actual continued problems? And why did he leave? (See subsequent comments about federal proceedings.)

Another point to mention: boxes and boxes of medical records mysteriously "disappeared" when subpoenaed by Cynthia’s lawyers, both civil and federal. There were obvious indications that other records were altered. Furthermore, essential muscle biopsy tissue and reports from two of the Martinez children, ordered by CPS through its own laboratory specialist, were to be sent for study to Dr. Shoffner, an expert described under "Federal Facts." This important evidence strangely "disappeared," despite being court-ordered to be sent to Cynthia’s lawyers by Certified Mail. Such biopsies were to be the medium by which muscle problems caused by Mitochondrial Disorder were established. If this link were established, then CPS would be totally lacking a case against Cynthia. How convenient for this evidence to suddenly "vanish"! Supposedly, not even a Certified Mail receipt could be located to prove the reports had even been mailed. In fact, evidently, the laboratory claims that it was sent off by regular mail, despite having full knowledge of the priority and urgency of the requested material and in violation of the Court order! Nor is the muscle tissue itself stored anywhere that CPS or its lab specialist supposedly can find! Is this not obviously suspicious?

Federal Case

One charge is "Disconnecting Joseph's feeding tube and blowing air into it." It is essential to reiterate that this is what was filmed by OSI at Dr. Kerr's request, only after Cynthia and her then-husband, David, threatened to pursue the original lawsuit against the hospital, adding the doctor for malpractice in Joseph's treatment. Prior to this, there were no complaints against Cynthia alleged in the original medical records. Please remember that although the media contributed to the notion that this was a heinous act to deliberately harm the child, it is actually a back-up method in case of feeding tube clogging, which is taught to mothers in preparation to take their child home with the feeding tube. Therefore, it is not a "gross deviation from the standard care of an ordinary person in her position," as claimed in the indictment, nor was it performed for any reason other than to relieve Joseph’s discomfort by unclogging the tube blocked by formula, as a result of Dr. Kerr’s endangerment and risk to Joseph, causing pain and suffering, by turning up the flow rate. Nor did Cynthia’s blowing "force air into Joseph's stomach and abdominal area", but rather relieved the blockage, as discussed above about Dr. Gong's expert testimony in the civil case in April of 1998. Even Dr. Holden, the one psychologist who, in the civil matter, "diagnosed" Cynthia with the supposed MSBP, admitted under cross-examination that he agreed that he doubted Cynthia meant any harm by blowing in the tube! Dr. Holden had reached his "diagnosis" after studying only 18 pages of hospital notes, as opposed to 3,000-8,000 pages of medical notes studied by several other experts who testified on Cynthia's behalf, such as Dr. John Jeffries of Dallas. Yet that sole "diagnosis" of MSBP by an admitted non-expert on MSBP, is the one slim thread that CPS holds onto for its civil efforts to terminate parental rights against both Cynthia and Paul.

Dr. Paul Shoffner, of the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, the most renown specialist on Mitochondria disorders, reviewed all the medical records, previous test results, including those of Dr. Palmer, with whom he has worked and highly regards. He concurs that the basis for applying the MSBP term to Cynthia is totally false and will stand by to testify in Federal Court to this fact.

Concerning the indictment which charges Cynthia "disconnected Joseph from the hose and the ventilator in what she describes as an effort to determine whether Joseph could breathe without the aid of a mechanical device:" This is true, as she wanted to see if he could breathe sufficiently on his own so as to be able to take him home and out of the danger she perceived him to be in. "The effect of Defendant's actions was to deprive Joseph of oxygen for approximately 62 seconds, causing Joseph pain and impairment of his physical condition." (Notice there is no mention of brain damage, as the 11-9-99 article maintains. And where is any investigation about whether 62 seconds is an unusual or dangerous amount of time to remove a ventilator, or if it is a practice by the staff for longer periods?)

PLEASE NOTE THAT, in fact, every day the doctors and nurses at this training hospital, Wilford Hall, would conduct "trache" tests for up to two hours at a time!! During this period, they would also suction the area behind the mouthpiece of the respirator to get rid of phlegm and other debris caught in the trachea. This would suction air at the same time. There would also be other times the respirator was disconnected by the staff, so as to do other treatments or routine activities, up to an hour or so. Joseph was able to breathe on his own for such time periods. It is just that he needed the assistance of the respirator for the long haul. So how is it that prosecutors have accused Cynthia of trying to suffocate Joseph by removing the respirator for 62 seconds, when the staff disconnected it for up to 120 minutes?? Do you see what a travesty this charge is? If 62 seconds could possibly deprive him of sufficient air, so as to cause alleged "pain and impairment," what would 60 to 120 minutes cause? Put another way, if up to 120 minutes without the ventilator could not possibly cause suffocation, how could 62 seconds possibly do so? Would this not mean that the doctors and staff were equally guilty of this charge? Of course not and neither is Cynthia Lyda!!

In what seems like a last-ditch effort to win its case, the prosecution has claimed incriminating evidence not heretofore revealed, is contained on an FBI-enhanced, yet still blurry video of the so-called "tube blowing incident," which was never presented IN COURT, but in documents subsequently submitted to Mr.Olivera. He is the Probation Officer assigned to interview many people involved with this case, review all the court records, even consider recommendations by many, many people who wrote in either against or for Cynthia, in making his evaluation and recommendation to be submitted to Judge Garcia before the sentencing date. For some peculiar reason, the man he should have been most interested in interviewing, Cynthia’s current husband, who has laid everything on the line to support her, was not even summoned until the week prior to the completion of the said report, with only an hour’s appointment scheduled. He openly voiced to Paul Lyda about the inclusion of the information of the hazy FBI video and the conclusions the prosecution has chosen to interpret in a way adverse to Cynthia. It is purely speculative, inconclusive, and subjective. Mr. Olivera’s very reference to it is inappropriate. If it were conclusive, why was it not brought up initially in Court?!

This so-called incriminating evidence was never introduced in court previously, despite the use of the video since the divorce and civil cases, and is not a part of the prior indictments or Plea Agreement. Mr.Olivera has either been persuaded or has chosen on his own to use that information against Cynthia. False though it may be (and is...although it is not expedient to elaborate on it at this point in time), evidently he has recommended an unjust sentence beyond time-served for Cynthia, on that conjectured basis alone, despite no conclusive proof of its accuracy. This is totally subjective on Mr. Olivera’s part, especially inasmuch as there could be much false information furnished to him by the prosecutor in order to justify such action, as was always their ploy in court. Fortunately, the defense will get an opportunity to respond to his recommendations and counter with whatever evidence or argument it can provide, which is ample. The defense can also accurately refute numerous errors in the report to Judge Garcia.

As to the incident of the gauze: despite being a separate indictment, it was the initial act to curtail flow speed and part of the same effort to slow down the flow rate of the feeding tube after Dr. Kerr deliberately increased it to an uncomfortable level over a period of time, leading to clogging. When Cynthia quickly discovered that the gauze caused too much of a slow down, she removed it immediately, just a few moments, no more than two minutes, after inserting it. That is when she took the next step, as taught, to blow in the tube to unblock the formula at the lower level, where it entered Joseph’s stomach. These incremental flow-rate increases were what led to Joseph’s distended belly; any deprivation of nutrition came from his stomach or intestinal blockage, which is also what was making the child so very uncomfortable. (Again, refer to Dr. Gong’s testimony.) Adding folded gauze to the adapter of the tube filter is yet another option available to handle such problems. In no way could it possibly deprive Joseph of any nutrition, as it still permitted a reasonable flow. This is a provable acceptable practice for home care methods of slowing flow rates. During the divorce trial, a highly respected foster mother wrote a letter on Cynthia’s behalf to validate the truth about the teaching of this procedure at Wilford Hall. She also referred to problems with infections of heart catheters as being common place. However, for whatever reasons, Judge Specia, who was presiding over that case, disallowed her evidence. (One cannot help but wonder how it is that Judge Specia did not recuse himself in the civil custody case do to conflicting interests, inasmuch as he had presided over the divorce case, subjecting him to bias.)

Again, the only reason that Aaron and Daniel, (not Joshua), came up in the current federal case, was for inflammatory purposes by the prosecutors, but both topics were not only disproved on the basis of merit, but were dropped altogether in exchange for the plea bargain in the matter of four counts regarding Joseph. As stated before, this would not have occurred had the cases been solidly based on clear evidence.


For further clarification: The Plea Agreement refers only to Counts:

  • Seven (re: blowing into the tube);
  • Nine (removing ventilator for 62 second);
  • and Eleven (inserting gauze in feeding tube) of the Superseding Indictment (previous one of 11 indictments).
  • There is a fourth indictment called "Information charging her with injury to a child", which is not described in the Plea Agreement.
  • Seven, Eleven and the "Information" are 3rd degree felonies.
  • Nine is a State-Jail indictment, which is even less in severity than the 3rd degree felonies (not mentioned in the E.N. 11/11/99 retraction).


In his 11/16/99 coverage of Isabel Lyda’s birth, Maro Robbins, despite clarification from one of Cynthia’s attorneys, still could not get his facts straight: "Isabel, conceived shortly before Lyda went to jail, was born Saturday (11-13-99). She is the first of Lyda’s children to arrive on schedule; all others were delivered prematurely." WRONG!! Once again a reporter does not listen or check his data.

FACT: Isabel was due 12/13/99, exactly one month early (at 35 weeks and 6 days according to medical records). She was admittedly gestationally larger than the average preemie of that age, but none-the-less, she was premature. The larger size could be contributed to the Co-Q10 that Cynthia was finally permitted to take in the last trimester (2 months of it, anyway), after Judge Garcia granted defense counsels’ request for the nutrient according to Dr. Palmer’s recommendation to help prevent or at least curtail Mitochondrial symptoms. By ordering the Co-Q10, Judge Garcia basically validated the testimony about Cynthia’s congenitally transferred Mitochondrial Disorder, the real cause of all the other children’s physiological problems. Even Isabel shows some possible signs of GI problems, which her mother and at least one of her two brothers definitely suffer from, despite denial by CPS and the boys’ guardian ad litem.

FACT: Anthony Martinez was born at Pease AFB in New Hampshire at 37-38 weeks weighing 7 lbs. 8.5 oz. He was considered full-term and exhibited none of the usual mitochondrial symptoms, probably because of lack of traumatic premature birth to cause any exacerbation, as in the cases of the other of her children, both Martinez and Lyda.


In light of all the above points, it becomes obvious how careless, uncaring, even unscrupulous media people can, by reporting limited and incorrect information, contort the truth to create doubt and suspicion, leading the public to jump to wrong conclusions.

In his 12/20/99 column, "School errors and the lawsuit myth," Rick Casey makes some great statements that he, himself needs to review, at least insofar as his coverage of Cynthia Lyda is concerned:

  • "…(T)he people who actually made the mistake need to admit and apologize to the girl and her mother.
  • "Not only is it good for their souls, but it can help clear the slate of an ancient human dynamic: that we are likely to resent the people we have wronged even more than the people who have wronged us. Guilt is even more corrosive than anger.
  • "Mistakes are inevitable…. It is important not to erode the authority of school officials. But it is just as important not to fool ourselves by pretending that infallibility enhances authority. Adults and even children don’t expect people in power to be perfect. We do expect them to try to be fair. (Emphasis added.)
  • "The second (tool) was that the person who made the mistake had to deal with it. In my case, I apologized as soon as I learned my error, not only in print, but in an unsolicited personal letter to my victim. (Emphasis added.)
  • "If a doctor causes harm through negligence, he is liable for damages.
  • "It is human nature for people given power by a large bureaucracy to grow callous in the exercise of that power."

Amen to that, Mr. Casey. I hope you follow through with your own words of wisdom.

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