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A Child's Face Said 'Help,' So a Kentucky Waitress Did

Police track down suspects after Facebook post
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2019 4:27 PM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2019 8:13 AM CDT
File photo of an Olive Garden restaurant.   (Isaac Hale/The Daily Herald via AP)

(Newser) – A waitress alarmed by a distraught child and disturbing adults flagged the group to police, helping them track down and arrest the adults. Jordan Cooper thought something was wrong as soon as she approached the table to serve the two adults and two children, one a girl about a year old, at an Olive Garden in Kentucky. "I first walked around to the baby," she told WPSD. "She looked at me with a face that said 'Help.'" Cooper was too upset to serve the group, per the Daily News, "I can't even describe to you how bad she looked and how and why nobody noticed it." She told Yahoo Lifestyle that the baby had a blanket over her head. When it was taken off, Cooper said, "her face had a lot of black-and-blue bruises." In addition, Cooper said the man "shoved breadsticks into her mouth and said, 'You’d better eat this' and got in her face while she whimpered."

Cooper decided to act. She pretended to take a photo of a group she was waiting on at the next table, capturing instead the faces of the suspicious adults. When the adults became wary and tried to leave quickly, Cooper walked out after them. She wrote down their license plate number and called 911. She wrote a Facebook post about her suspicions that was seen by thousands of people, including a 911 dispatcher who knows Cooper. He began investigating the couple online, then notified police. The adults soon were arrested at home and charged with child abuse and neglect. The baby was treated at a hospital, and both children were placed in the care of Children's Services. “I couldn’t sleep that night, I was so worried,” Cooper, who is eight months pregnant, told Yahoo Lifestyle. "It makes me feel good to know these children will be better off." (Read more child abuse stories.)

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