Two women were arrested on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and charged with child abuse after they were apparently caught on a viral video encouraging multiple children, including an 18-month-old infant, to smoke marijuana.
According to Fox 8, Michaela Pearson, 21, and Candice Little, 18, were both charged with felony child abuse and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after several complaints from people who saw them on a Facebook video committing the offense in question. Police records indicate that the three children ranged in age from 18 months to 3-years-old and that the women “caused and encouraged” the toddlers to smoke a cigarette laced with marijuana.
“I didn’t know what to say. It was just mind-blowing,” related a woman who sent a copy of the video to WXII 12 News.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. It made me very upset because I have nieces and nephews and little cousins myself and they’re like brothers and sisters to me.”
WXII 12 News further noted that Michaela Pearson and Candice Little are currently being held on a $150,000 secured bond. The two young women were reportedly arrested around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, though they did not disclose why the location where they were arrested at is important to the ongoing investigation.
Winston-Salem women charged with helping children smoke https://t.co/rQBkLd2x19— Drowzy Rodriguez (@stay_drowzy93) August 29, 2018
In a later report from Fox 8, the mother of the three children in the viral Facebook video, who chose not to disclose her name because she is allegedly getting death threats, identified Pearson and Little as family friends whom she trusted with her children. She didn’t say much aside from confirming that her toddlers have just been released from the hospital after treatment and are now back home, and adding that she is “extremely upset” about the situation.
The incident involving Pearson, Little, and the three toddlers was not the first case in North Carolina this year where infants or small children were allegedly made to smoke marijuana by a pair of young adults. According to a report from WRAL, 20-year-old Raleigh woman Brianna Ashanti Lofton was arrested in March and charged with two counts of felony child abuse after she was allegedly caught on video giving her 16-month-old baby marijuana.
Shortly after, a second person, 18-year-old Allan Gylmar Maldonado, was arrested in connection with the earlier incident, which reportedly took place in December or January. He later denied being the child’s biological father, even if he was informed by the judge that parenthood had no connection with his charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.