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Viral Video Draws Attention of Philadelphia Child Protection Officials

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By Pat Loeb and Steve Patterson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If investigators are right – this five minute Facebook video is as heartbreaking as it already is hard to watch.

It’s a video posted to social media — taken by a SEPTA customer.

Watch the full Facebook video

The woman depicted is clearly impaired in some way on a daytime Route 66 bus, while a young girl who appears to be her daughter  keeps the woman from falling over, while offering what sound like words of comfort.

The four-minute video was posted on a Facebook page devoted to misbehavior on Septa.

To Philadelphia human services commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose, the video was heartbreaking.

“My heart went out to that little girl and how scared she must have been and how embarrassed she must have been, trying to protect her mom,” Ambrose tells KYW Newsradio.

“Mom, you gotta help me with the bags.   Mom!” the daughter is heard to plead at one point in the video.

Ambrose says her department was flooded with e-mails, and police were able to identify the woman and insure the safety of the child.  But she says she is troubled that no one on the bus called or took action.

“We all have a responsibility in keeping the children of Philadelphia safe,” Ambrose said today, “and if anyone suspects abuse or neglect, they should call immediately.”

“It’s a pretty disturbing video,” says Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford.

Lt. Stanford says the viral video was forwarded to the department’s social media team.

“Anytime you have something like that and you see this little girl is trying her best to get what’s assumed to be her mother – it’s a little disturbing,” Lt. Standford said.

Police, SEPTA and the Department if Human of Human Services are investigating the incident.

They have identified woman – but aren’t releasing her name.

“Grateful that citizens sent this information to us so we can get the ball rolling on investigating it,” Lt. Standford said.

But investigators say it’s early, too early to tell what is wrong with this woman.

Eyewitness News reporter Steve Patterson talked to a spokesperson from SEPTA who tells him it’s unclear what actions, if any, were taken by the SEPTA driver or any of the other passengers when this video was being taken.

The city’s child abuse hotline is 215-683-6100.

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