"My sugar gets low, and then I get sick. I get a seizure."
Those are the words seven-year-old Dani Miller spoke to the east Texas news crews when they arrived at her house to film the family's plea with the community to help them get a service dog to help Dani manage her rare form of diabetes day-to-day.
According to her mother, Ellen Rupp-Jones, the little girl had a condition known as MODY, which limited her pancreas’ ability to produce insulin and could later cause damage to her kidneys, nerves, eyes and blood vessels.
But Dani was merely the puppet in her mother's sick game. As a nurse at Palestine Regional Medical Center in Texas, Rupp-Jones had access to fast-acting insulin and glucagon – giving her the tools she needed to lower and raise her young daughter's insulin levels when she chose.
Rupp-Jones was arrested in June 2019, aged 36, following allegations she had been injecting Dani with unneeded insulin. After they took Dani from the mother's care, Child Protective Services claimed that Rupp-Jones had Munchausen's by proxy – a mental illness and a form of child abuse in which a caretaker, usually the mother, fakes or creates symptoms to make their child appear sick.
For Rupp-Jones, her medical expertise gave her the perfect chance to hide her lies in plain sight.
Fooling her family and a community.
Eager for attention of any kind, Rupp-Jones turned to the local TV stations to tell her story in late 2018.
East Texas news station KLTV gave her the platform she craved, airing the mother’s pleas for funding to buy her little girl a diabetic alert dog. The ‘DADs’ had a price tag of up to $35,000.