A 26-year-old woman from New York was arrested after allegedly harassing a toddler who was born with a rare genetic disorder. Police say that Krista Sewell sent “numerous threatening messages to Facebook, Instagram, and GoFundMe pages that had been set up by the victim’s family.” Sewell even mailed threatening letters to the family’s home.
The young girl, Anna, was born in 2017 with harlequin ichthyosis, which caused her to have hard, thick skin, separated by deep fissures. Many newborns with the disorder develop potentially fatal infections within the first few weeks of their lives and require extensive medical treatment to survive.
Anna endured the treatments, and her mother Jennie Riley shared information about her daughter’s condition on social media, hoping to raise awareness about harlequin ichthyosis. In December 2018, Sewell stumbled across the posts and started cyberbullying the toddler and her family.
Sewall continued her campaign of harassment for nearly a year until she was taken into custody. She was charged with aggravated harassment, stalking, and a felony hate crime. Authorities have not determined a motive for Sewall’s actions.
Riley issued a statement thanking the police for helping track down Sewall and put ing an end to her harassment.
“In 2017 my daughter Anna was born with a skin condition called Harlequin Ichthyosis. This condition is very severe and I have made a choice to educate people publicly on Facebook and Instagram. Although I knew there was a possibility for negativity I never expected to receive the messages that were sent to me. Over the past year I have fought a battle I never thought I would fight and I felt fear no mother should feel. I want to thank the New York State Police and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department for their diligence, dedication and most of all their compassion. I hope we can all learn from this and understand the importance of teaching our kids kindness and acceptance of visible differences.”