FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fort Myers Police arrested a 27-year-old woman in Walmart on Monday for abusing a small child.
Carmella Birchum faces charges of cruelty toward a child after several witness observed her being rough with the child and creating a disturbance.
A witness called the police, stating a female was being abusive towards a child near the Garden Center of the Walmart on Colonial Blvd. The witness heard yelling, screaming and obscenities. As she searched for where the noise was coming from, she found a woman and two small children. The woman was allegedly beating the boy with such force that the boy was knocked off his feet. After the boy hit the pavement, the witness reported that she saw the woman repeatedly kick and punch the child.
Many customers shopping in the store were disturbed and frightened by their observations and made complaints to the manager. Customers said they heard yelling while shopping throughout the store.
When the officer entered the Walmart and confronted the suspect, he recognized her from previous encounters. Because of the officer's prior experience with the suspect, he knew her to have a quick temper and a nasty disposition.
The officer attempted to make contact with the children. The boy refused to speak, but was visibly shaking and crying.
Surveillance cameras in the store recorded the incident. Footage shows the boy in an effort to defend himself by holding his hand up and running backwards. Other footage shows the woman and the two children sitting outside the store under a nearby tree. She is reportedly seen grabbing the base of the boy's neck, gaining control of his body. She then continues to walk him into the store. Throughout the footage, the boy doesn't seem in resist the woman, but instead complies with her direction.
The woman was transported and booked in the Lee County Jail.