CLEVELAND, Ohio — A picture posted by a mother on social media was so alarming that a tip about the disturbing image was sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Investigators in Virginia then traced it back here to Cleveland and that’s when the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children heard about it.
ICAC Commander Dave Frattare said the picture showed a young boy bound around the wrists, ankles and mouth with duct tape.
“We believe that someone at Instagram saw the picture or one of her 23,000 followers saw the image and reported it to Instagram directly,” said Frattare.
The tip came in Wednesday afternoon and by Wednesday evening police officers with the Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Housing Authority and ICAC taskforce members converged on the apartment of the mother and young son. The little boy was fine.
“Nothing online is a joke or meant to be funny when it involves children being abused, ” Frattare said.
The 21-year-old mother was arrested and appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court but the paperwork showed the case was dismissed at the request of the county prosecutor’s office.
That’s why News 5 is not disclosing her name. But, this case is not over. In fact, authorities said the investigation was just beginning.
“We want to follow through with this case. We want to make sure the child is safe. We want to make sure if there is punishment it is handed out accordingly,” Frattare said.