CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – A Delaware County mother is being held without bail until a preliminary hearing for what police call a “disgusting and deplorable” picture led them to file criminal charges.
Authorities say multiple agencies are investigating the incident, including the Nether Providence Township police — where the picture was reportedly taken — and Chester Township police where Caira Ferguson, 21, currently lives.
The picture shows a toddler, wearing only a diaper, bound to a chair with her mouth, hands and feet duct taped. A woman, who police say is the-year-old’s mother, is also seen in the picture sitting next to the girl.
When questioned by police, sources say Ferguson admitted she is the woman in the picture, stating the picture was not taken as a joke, but failed to explain why or who took the picture.
“No, I did not duct tape my child,” Ferguson said as she was led away to jail in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon.
Ferguson was arrested Wednesday afternoon from her Toby Farms home on an unrelated outstanding warrant.
When Eyewitness News tried to get answers, a woman who declined to identify herself, answered behind closed doors, “This is getting blown out of proportion. This is not what people are thinking and we want it to stop.”
Minutes later, police arrived to execute a search warrant, they removed items from the home to be used as evidence before leading Ferguson away in handcuffs.
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When asked how the child was doing, Ferguson told reporters, “She’s great. She’s very well taken care of.”
The woman’s father Ira Ferguson says, “the allegations of abuse is absolutely ridiculous. It can’t be. My daughter is a very loving daughter, a very loving mother, a very loving friend.”
Yet later in the afternoon, Eyewitness News captured exclusive video of family members taking a child, covered by a blanket, out of the home with child welfare officials standing by.
Chester Township police alleged the whole ordeal began a few days ago when the 21-year-old mother came to them claiming someone pretended to be her and posted the picture online.
“She’s claiming her identity was stolen and using her picture as evidence of that,” Chester Township police chief Ken Coalson said.
Ferguson is facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled at the end of the month.
Reported by Elizabeth Hur; Todd Quinones, CBS 3