— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) April 17, 2017
The video showed a 1-year-old boy strapped in a car seat, whimpering and squirming as a female voice spoke from out of frame.
“Tell your daddy,” the woman said. “That’s what happens when you sit around and play with people.”
She continued: “Now, this is what you get.”
She then struck the child on his torso with a closed fist, yelling an expletive as the boy screamed.
That was the least of the abuse Janelle Andrea Peterkin, of Humble, Tex., inflicted on her son, according to prosecutors.
Last month, the 23-year-old mother allegedly filmed and took dozens of pictures of herself beating the child — at one point placing a bag over his head and burning his hand with a lighter — then sent them to the father, her ex-boyfriend.
The horrifying images didn’t surface until last week, after a relative found them, alerted police and posted them on social media, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Peterkin appeared in court on Monday after being arrested last week on a child endangerment charge, according to local media. A judge reportedly released her on a $15,000 bond after ordering her not to come within 200 feet of her son. It’s not clear if she has an attorney.
Prosecutors said officers “saw video of the complainant in a car seat and an adult hand was seen stuffing a plastic bag into the mouth of the complainant, who appeared to have difficulty breathing. Officers also saw another still picture of the complainant in a child car sear with a plastic bag over his head, covering the face and tying it in a knot.”
When Peterkin told the judge her mother was coming to pick her up from jail with the baby in tow, the judge gave her a stern warning, saying she’d have to find another ride, according to KPRC.
“If you get within 200 feet of the child while this order is pending, she’s going to have to bring that child to 701 San Jacinto to visit you because you’re going to be in jail,” the judge said.
After Peterkin was arrested last week, she told officers she sent the images because she was angry with the baby’s father, according to KPRC. The alleged abuse was recorded in a parking lot near the Eastex Freeway. Prosecutors said she failed to get the child medical care.
“She sent the pictures to her ex-boyfriend to disturb him,” prosecutors said, according to the Chronicle.
Ra’neicha Broadnax of Richmond, sister of the baby’s father, said she discovered dozens of videos and photos of the alleged abuse last week and reported them to police. She told CW39 the father might not have noticed them because he had turned on the “do not disturb” function on his phone for Peterkin’s number.
“When I saw the video, I had to ask the police if he was still alive,” Broadnax told Valley Central. “I thought she had killed him.”
Broadnax said police in Humble gave her the impression that there was nothing the department could do to respond, so she posted some of the images to Facebook. Within an hour, local police contacted her, she told Valley Central.
A spokeswoman for the Humble Police Department told the Houston Chronicle that officers had to track down Peterkin’s address in another jurisdiction.
“When she originally called us, she did not have an address,” Capt. Melinda Bradshaw said. “We came up with an address based on the last name. We promptly contacted Precinct 4 and gave them the information. We can’t investigate something in somebody else’s jurisdiction.”
Broadnax told local media the baby is safe and living with relatives in Texas.
The case is among the latest to feature Facebook in some way. Another example came earlier this week when a man in Cleveland, saying he wanted to send a message to his ex-girlfriend, fatally shot an innocent citizen who had no connection with either of them.
More from Morning Mix