A Humble, Texas, mother is prohibited from seeing her 1-year-old son after apparently taking photographs of herself putting a plastic bag over the toddler’s head and putting the bag in the child’s mouth, along with other documented abuse.
Janelle Andrea Peterkin, 23, is facing charges of child endangerment after she was seen on video and in pictures abusing her son. She was arrested Thursday and made a court appearance Monday, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The protective order filed in the case forbids Peterkin from seeing the child or going near the residence where he is currently staying. She is currently free on $15,000 bail.
Prosecutors accuse Peterkin of sending photos and videos of herself to her child’s father to upset her ex.
“She sent the pictures to her ex-boyfriend to disturb him,” prosecutors claimed Friday.
According to the Chronicle, the disturbing footage surfaced after a family member, Ra’Neicha Broadnax, posted it to Facebook.
Broadnax, who is the sister of the child’s father, said that she posted the video after calling the Humble Police Department to report it, but was told that she had called the wrong department.
Broadnax told the news site that she thought she was being told that there was nothing that could be done about the case. However, Police Capt. Melinda Bradshaw of the Police Department emphasized that the case was not in Humble but in Harris County, which was under the jurisdiction of the Precinct 4 constable’s office.
“When she originally called us, she did not have an address,” Bradshaw explained. “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.”
There was more footage than the one with the plastic bag, created over a period of maybe six months. Family reportedly did not know about the videos until Thursday, Broadnax said.
One video showed Peterkin spitting on the toddler, holding a cigarette lighter to his hand and bending his hands back.
“In some, she was talking to him, saying, ‘Blame your dad and his new girlfriend,’” Broadnax said.
The aunt told KTRK that Peterkin started sending the images and videos to family members on April 13, with the mother threatening to hurt the child if they did not respond.
One of the messages allegedly read, “Sad that he that pressed to cheat after he just begged me to be his girlfriend. That’s okay. We can keep playing. Let’s see how bad y’all wanna be together.”
That message was accompanied by a photo of the toddler with a plastic bag tied around his head.
“The video I sent to the police, she had a plastic bag; she was stuffing it down his throat,” Broadnax told Valley Central. “He was throwing up; his eyes were rolling to the back of the head.
“When I saw the video, I had to ask the police if he was still alive,” she added. “I thought she had killed him.”