Police departments across the region were flooded with thousands of phone calls last week after a graphic and violent video surfaced on social media. The 23-second clip shows Baltimore County mom, Rachel Webber, repeatedly hitting, smacking and slapping her 6-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
"It's an ugly video, it's a difficult video to look at,” said Baltimore County Police Spokesperson Elise Armacost. “This is the power of viral video."
The Department of Social Services removed the two children seen in the video, along with a 2-year-old boy from the house. We're told they're now with family members.
Webber was arrested Tuesday and is being held without bail in the Baltimore County Detention Center.
ABC 2 News went to the Middle River home where the footage was recorded, but no one answered.
"The investigation showed that she shot the video,” Armacost said. “She told us that she shot it as a ploy to make her husband come home and take care of her, she also told us that she was angry and upset with the children at the time when she shot the video."
Arrest documents outline how the 26-year-old propped her phone up to make the recording, threatening her husband "if you don't want to come home, I will beat these kids to death.”
Webber told detectives she was having a "psychotic break" when she took the footage and wanted her husband to take her to the hospital. Explaining she was wailing on the kids because one "pulled a knife and scissors on her," and the other "bit" her.
"She was way over the line for what would be acceptable parental discipline," said Armacost.
But it didn't stop there. Detectives discovered other disturbing details about what goes on inside the household. According to court paperwork, inside one of the bedrooms there's a three-foot-by-three-foot square wooden toy box with a lock on top. One of the kids explained to investigators that they sometimes "get into the box to hide from mommy and daddy." Saying occasionally they spend the night inside it, and they "get put in the box" with the top locked when they get in trouble.
"The care of the children is the number one priority, the safety of the children is what's most important to us,” said Armacost.
Webber is charged with two-counts of second-degree child abuse and two-counts of second-degree assault for the beating seen on the recording. Investigators say the children only had minor bruises.
Editors Note: In the original story, we identified the woman as Rachel Pietro, per information we were given at that time. Since her arrest, she has since been identified in court documents as Rachel Webber. All references to Rachel have been updated in the story above