Second child in Wentzville family hospitalized with mercury poisoning


WENTZVILLE, Mo. – A 13-year-old Wentzville boy was admitted to the hospital for mercury poisoning after his sister experienced the same symptoms.

Officials believe a broken thermometer spilled mercury in the boy’s room, and the children were inhaling toxins from the mercury over the last few months unknowingly. However, the kids’ mom, Jenn Niswonger, said a local teenager brought a cup filled with mercury into their home.

Niswonger said all the pain that her 11-year-old daughter, Matti, endured is now mimicking itself in her 13-year-old son, Caleb.

“I’ve been talking to the doctors all last week, and we decided we were going to admit him,” said Niswonger. “He got a spinal tap yesterday, MRI, a lot of blood work, he’s in a lot of pain, the pain doesn’t seem to be going away ever.”

The siblings are both on a treatment plan that involves a 23-day regimen.

“Matti has antibodies that her body created to destroy the mercury, but some of them went crazy and are attacking her body. So, they’re working to get rid of all the antibodies, which is going to make her immune system very weak,” said Niswonger.

Matti will be in the hospital until they can make sure the mercury and pain are gone.

“I mean they’re scared to death. It’s absolutely traumatizing to them. They’re constantly poked on and tested on,” said Niswonger. “They’re scared, and to see that in their face, to see how scared they are, I mean they didn’t have to go through this.”

As for the other two Wentzville families, their conditions are unknown but the Environmental Protection Agency has cleared them to return home after cleaning the exposed homes.

Niswonger said her sister’s kids have also been hospitalized since the mercury spill in her home, but there is hope.

“I mean there is progression with Matti,” said Niswonger. “She is getting a little better, but it’s very small. So, it’s very discouraging that we’ve been here for two months. And the pain is still very, very bad, and the symptoms are still very, very bad.”

Niswonger said she will return home when her kids are healthy again, but does not know when that will be.

A PayPal fundraiser remains active online for the family.

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