Day care owner hit with shovel trying to stop drunken dad from taking his kids

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HELENA, Mont. — A daycare owner was hit in the face with a shovel last week after she refused to allow three children to go home with their father, who does not have legal custody and was drunk, according to authorities.

According to a gofundme page, the day care owner is Martha McClure, of Ronan.

Officials said Francis Joseph Jackson, 31, showed up at McClure’s day care facility with an unidentified woman last week. McClure was aware Jackson’s parental rights had been suspended and that he was not allowed contact with the children. She told authorities she could smell alcohol on Jackson.

McClure was escorting Jackson from the building when, “at some point the male struck her,” Lake County Sheriff Don Bell told the Billings Gazette. Jackson then began throwing toys, including a tricycle, at the window in an attempt to get back inside the daycare center, according to the Associated Press.

McClure went outside the day care where she fought with Jackson. Moments later, Jackson’s girlfriend hit her with the shovel. The attackers then fled.

It is unknown whether any children witnessed the alleged assault.

McClure had surgery on an eye on Monday “and has a long road of healing ahead of her,” according to the gofundme page.

Jackson was taken into custody in Washington on Monday, according to the Billings Gazette. The man’s girlfriend, who is also accused of assaulting McClure, remains at large.