Baltimore County woman in viral video charged with child abuse

Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 14:32:03-04

A mother seen abusing two children in a viral video shared widely last week has been charged with two counts each of second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault.

Baltimore County Police said 26-year-old Rachel Marie Webber of the unit block Cool Breeze Drive in Middle River was arrested Tuesday morning in Essex. She’s being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

"It was an ugly video. It's a difficult video to look at. This is the power of viral video," Elise Armacost, the director of public relations for Baltimore County's police department, said. 

Police said concerned citizens forwarded the 23-second video to police. The video shows a woman yelling and hitting a young boy and girl.

RELATED: Baltimore County family being investigated for possible child abuse after viral video

After an investigation, officers went to the home and placed the two children—a 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl—in the care of the county Department of Social Services. A 2-year-old boy, who doesn’t appear in the video, was also taken. The three children were transferred to the care of family members, police said.

Webber initially told police the video was two years old, but an investigation revealed that it was recorded at the family’s home within the last two months.

Webber said she “recorded the video because she hoped it would encourage her husband to come home and take care of her. She also said she was angry with the children,” according to police.

One of the children suffered minor injuries.

ABC2 spoke to Webber's husband's half-sister, Pattie Hoeck, last week. She says she was concerned about Webber and her husband when they stayed with her in 2012. 

"I knew in my heart and in my mind that something like this would happen. Rachel is very controlling. She tries to control anybody that she gets around," Hoeck said. 

She even brought her concerns to national TV on an episode of 'The Steve Wilkos Show' where the two parents were on the show, originally, for a paternity test case. 

Hoeck said she knew those issues would surface again sooner or later. 

Baltimore County police say the incident in the video crossed the line. 

"She's charged with 2nd degree assault and child abuse so she clear crossed the line. She was way over the line for what would be acceptable parental discipline," Armacost said. 

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

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