Facebook post leads to child abuse arrests - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Facebook post leads to child abuse arrests

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PADUCAH, Ky. -- Two people face aggravated child abuse and neglect charges after a waitress in Paducah noticed something wasn't right at a table. 

That waitress took to Facebook where a Metropolis dispatcher helped located the couple. 

Aaron Caldwell described to News 3's Emily Manley how a typical Sunday night for his friend Jordan Cooper turned into a rescue operation. 

"She ended up giving up her tables and was watching this family," Caldwell said. "The stepdad or father figure to the child was really aggressive towards the child according to her."

Cooper is a part-time waitress at the Olive Garden in Paducah. She noticed something wasn't right about a party of four inside the restaurant. 

"This kid came in and had bruising on her face," Caldwell said. 

After the couple noticed they were being watched, they left the restaurant in a hurry. 

Caldwell says Cooper followed them outside to take down their license plate number. 

She called 911 and DCFS in Kentucky, neither had any luck finding the vehicle, so that's when she took to social media. 

"She put it online and when I found it it had 1,400 shares," Caldwell said. 

Caldwell is a dispatcher at the Metropolis Police Department and while he was coming into his shift Sunday night when he noticed Cooper's post on Facebook, asking to help locate a possibly endangered child. 

"it just so happened that we knew each other and I'm a dispatcher," Caldwell said. 

Caldwell knew with his equipment he could help find this couple, so he started typing in what he found while reading the comments on Facebook, like the name of the man in the picture, Mark Lee Pierce. 

"So I just started punching middle initials until it popped up and I had a license plate," Caldwell said. 

Caldwell found a match in Paris,Tennessee. 

He called the Paris Police Department, explained the situation and gave the address of the house where officers found Jessica Woodworth and Mark Pierce. 

"They called me back at 4 a.m. and said they arrested both of them for aggravated child abuse and neglect and the kids are now in state custody," Caldwell said. 

Caldwell says the lesson in this story is if you see something, say something, even the smallest tip could help save someone. 

Both Pierce and Woodworth are still in jail in Henry County, Tennessee, with bond set at $2000,000 bond each. 

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