- Paris Police Department
- Mark Lee Pierce, 33, and Jessica Woodworth, 36, from Pulaski, Illinois, were arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect on Sunday.
- Their arrests came after Olive Garden waitress Jordan Cooper pleaded for help identifying the couple on Facebook Sunday night.
- She said in a Facebook post that she saw the couple at her restaurant with a baby that looked “severely beaten.”
- With help from co-workers, Cooper surreptitiously snapped a photo of the couple and their license place, and a Facebook friend helped identify them to police.
An Olive Garden waitress may have saved children from allegedly abusive parents after detailing what she saw in the restaurant in a Facebook post.
Mark Lee Pierce, 33, and Jessica Woodwork, 36, from Pulaski, Illinois, were arrested on child abuse charges after waitress Jordan Cooper pleaded for help identifying the couple on Facebook Sunday night.
Cooper, 21, was working at an Olive Garden in Paducah, Kentucky, on Sunday when she spotted a 20-month-old baby with a “severely beaten” face eating with a man, woman, and another child.
She said in the now-deleted Facebook post seen NBC affiliate WPSD that the baby was “black and blue” and that she saw the man “force-feeding [the child] food down her throat and grabbing her by her shirt and getting in her face.”
In hopes of documenting what was happening, Cooper and her colleagues took a photo of the table, and snapped a photo of the family’s license plate as they left the restaurant.
Cooper told INSIDER that the mom did not appear to strap the baby into a car seat before driving away.
Cooper posted about the incident on Facebook, contacted the Department of Children and Family Services, and called the police to warn officials about what was going on.
But it was a childhood friend who works as a 911 dispatcher who identified the couple through Cooper’s Facebook post.
911 dispatcher Aaron Caldwell tracked down the pair with their license plate number, and called authorities.
“Aaron saw my post and took action,” Cooper told INSIDER. “It all happened so quickly maybe all within an hour. My phone was blowing up. I had several people that messaged me with information that really helped the police.”
The Paris Police Department performed a welfare check on the family and arrested Woodworth and Pierce on charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect.
Woodworth and Pierce are being held on $200,000 bonds each, and the investigation is ongoing.
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