Nine weeks after Rebecca Wanosik gave birth to her fifth child, a little girl named Zeydn, she heard a popping noise and noticed her daughter was suffering from unexplained arm pains.
According to Babble, she took Zeydn to the hospital, where doctors examined her arm. An X-ray revealed the baby had a broken right arm and three fractured ribs.
The doctor immediately reported Wanosik to Child Protective Services, as he suspected the injuries stemmed from child abuse.
NBC News reports Wanosik’s five children were removed from their home Feb. 24, 2015, the same day Zeydn had been brought to the hospital. They remained in protective custody for nine months.
But Wanosik and her husband had not abused their daughter. Together, they spent months trying to prove they were innocent.
Holick told NBC News:
“A combination of the two (conditions) caused the fractures. It likely happened in the birthing process, but even moving her in the crib could have caused it.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children with rickets often lack the vitamin D necessary to promote strong bones. Breastfed infants should ingest at least 400 units of vitamin D every day. Wanosik told NBC News she wasn’t aware of the vitamin D requirement before her daughter was diagnosed.
After receiving the diagnosis from Dr. Holick, Wanosik argued with CPS that Zeydn was sick when she broke her arm. But the family continued to have supervised visits for an additional three months until the case was finally dropped.
In an interview with Dearly, Wanosik said her older children were aware their parents were being investigated by CPS while the case was open:
“We never lied to them. Transparency made dealing with everything easier. When my oldest was told they were allowed to move back into our home, he ran to the social worker and hugged her with tears streaming down his face.”
The children are happy to be home and with their parents again.
However, Wanosik noted she is constantly reassuring her children they won’t be taken away again:
“The trauma is something I don’t think we will ever heal from. We all jump when there is an unexpected knock on the door, or if the doorbell rings. Our children are scared to go to the doctor. My 10-year-old, while referencing his sick little sister needing to go to the doctor, said, ‘Mom, please don’t take her to the doctor, I don’t want to live anywhere else ever again.'”
Now that the incident is over, Wanosik is working with a group known as Fractured Families to help raise awareness of rickets and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and to protect other families from misdiagnosed child abuse charges.
Fractured Families was founded by two women with similar experiences as Wanosik. They later brought in three other families. Wanosik reached out to one of the founders after watching her story on “20/20”:
“Bria Huber and Rana Tyson founded Fractured Families and then brought in Christine Jackson. I found Bria and Cynthia Ross after their story aired on ’20/20.’ When my case was winding down, I was asked to be on the executive board of Fractured Families because of my drive for justice. It’s a really great fit for all five of us.”
“It’s important to me because I knew we were innocent. I knew that nobody abused our child. Even with solid evidence to disprove their theory, they still wanted it to be abuse. I never understood why you would want it to be something so horrific when it simply wasn’t.”
She hopes to encourage other parents to read their local CPS laws: “That’s one thing I wasn’t knowledgeable of because I never thought this could happen to me.”