Mother arrested after Facebook video shows baby being slapped - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mother arrested after Facebook video shows baby being slapped

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego police Thursday arrested the 18-year-old mother of an infant shown in a Facebook video clutching an open pocketknife and being slapped on the head three times.

San Diego police learned this morning about the social-media images -- which revealed only the right arm and hand of the person inflicting the apparent physical abuse -- and immediately began working to identity and find the baby, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Scott Wahl said.

The 6-month-old infant was located and placed in protective custody early this afternoon, Wahl said.

The mother of the baby, Jowi Victoria Morales, was arrested in the 200 block of South Pardee Street in Mountain View and booked into Las Colinas women's jail in connection with outstanding domestic violence charges, he said.

Luis Lara is baby Belle's father. He said the mother sent him the video and pictures - threatening his daughter would be gone. "It sounded to me, I guess I no longer wanted to be with her and she wanted to get back at me."

Lizz Benitez claims she posted the video and pictures on Facebook to trying to reach out to Morales. The post has since been shared over 1,600 times. "I know Facebook was a good platform to reach out and help. I have a daughter myself and that broke my heart. Child abuse is something that should not happen." 

Lara said now that his baby's mother has been arrested he "feels sad because she is the mom of my daughter. I will still care for her and be there, but what she did was not right." 

Child abuse detectives were working to determine who was shown hitting the victim in the video, the lieutenant said.

Lara is working with social services to take custody of baby Belle. 

Morales faces charges of felony domestic violence and making criminal threats. She is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. 

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