Story Time

Teen Mother Arrested After Disturbing Facebook Photo Sparks Outrage

A teen mother was arrested in Virginia after a disturbing image of her infant was posted to Facebook, sparking outrage among users who saw the distressed child.

Alexis Breeden, 18, turned herself into the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office after a felony warrant was issued for her arrest due to the controversial image of her crying 14-month-old son, suspended in the air and hanging from a hook by his twisted t-shirt, that was posted on social media, according to CBS6.

The image shows her young son hanging from the hook in a door frame of her home by his shirt, which is pulled tightly around his neck while he’s clearly distressed, crying and uncomfortable. The image, which was taken by Breeden, was posted online by the boy’s father in an act of revenge after the former lovers had an argument.

After it was posted, the image spread across Facebook like wildfire as viewers were left horrified to see the distressed and scared toddler hanging in the air. Eventually, the image captured the attention of the local sheriff’s office after several people posted the picture of the little boy on the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Sgt. James Konicki told CBS6 that an investigation found the child to have been hanging by a plant hook rather than a nail, as previously suspected. A warrant for Breeden’s arrest was promptly issued. “We had it assigned to a criminal investigation detective through the child victim unit. When she responded, she did an investigation and found that it wasn’t a nail, it was actually a planter hook that the child was hanging from,” Sgt. Konicki explained. “But the child was absolutely fine,” he added.

“The baby’s father and mother had an argument, and in retaliation, the father posted this on Facebook to get the mother in trouble,” Konicki said, adding that the father of the child was not involved in the alleged abuse. Breeden, on the other hand, faces felony child abuse charges, but she was released on a $2,500 bond.

Shockingly, this isn’t Breeden’s first time in trouble with the law. In fact, just before this incident, she had pleaded guilty to an assault and battery charge against a family member. According to CBS6, she assaulted her mother and was forced to take anger management classes as well as undergo a mental health evaluation. CBS6 also reports that she violated a court order and was due in court on a separate charge after she violated a protective order.

In a post on Breeden’s own Facebook page, the eighteen-year-old lashed out at people criticizing her. “The cops came to my house twice last night and saw that he was fine. They think this was immature and dumb of me but he saw I was playing and no one needs to know everything going on because some of you aren’t parents and no one knows the full story. Mind your own f****** business,” she wrote.

However, Breeden’s tone has since changed. “I regret taking the picture, even putting him up there… I really do,” Breeden said, adding that she loves her son to death and would do everything in her power to make sure that he is healthy. “I didn’t do anything and I never will do anything to hurt my son. My son was not hurt at all,” Breeden furthered when contacting CBS6 in an attempt to clear the air after reading numerous messages on social media sites bashing her and her parenting skills. “All it was, was to be a joke. He was laughing…put it in his baby book,” Breeden insisted.

However, Sgt. Konicki doesn’t find it to be a laughing matter. He said, “It’s heartbreaking. You don’t ever want to see a child victim. It’s harder to handle than if it was an adult.” Apparently, other authorities agreed as Breeden’s child was placed in the care of another family member, and the mother was only allowed to visit with the child with supervision, pending the outcome of the felony child abuse case against her.

Joke or no joke, when someone smaller than you, especially someone who depends on you to protect them from harm, starts to cry and is obviously uncomfortable, you stop what you are doing — and not to take a picture. The lack of common sense and common decency toward a small child is just as disturbing as the image itself. As I always tell my own kids, jokes aren’t meant to be funny. If the target of your joke is in tears, that’s a good indication it’s not amusing.