Quick-thinking Kentucky waitress' social media post saves two young children from allegedly abusive parents
Jordan Cooper's peristence ensured that 33-year-old Mark Lee Pierce and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Jessica Woodworth, did not get away with child abuse.
The actions of a quick-thinking Kentucky waitress may just have ensured that two suspected child abusers may end up facing justice. Twenty one-year-old Jordan Cooper, who works at an Olive Garden in Paducah, immediately knew something was wrong when 33-year-old Mark Lee Pierce and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Jessica Woodworth, walked in her restaurant with an 11-year-old girl and a 20-month-old baby.
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, Cooper, who is expecting a child herself, said the infant was "black and blue with bruises" and that she saw Pierce acting aggressively towards the baby. "He shoved breadsticks into her mouth and said, 'You’d better eat this' and got in her face while she whimpered," she said.
Unable to ignore the pair anymore, the 21-year-old informed her coworkers about what she had seen, and one of them went on to stealthily photograph the family while taking a group snapshot for the table she was waiting. She managed to zoom in on the family in the picture and asked her customers to text the photo to her.
The bruises were not the only thing that raised Cooper's suspicion either. Pierce reportedly made two trips to the men's room with the infant, but without the diaper bag on both occasion. The third time around, Cooper followed him into the bathroom and questioned him.
Pierce quickly made his way out of the bathroom, asked for the bill, and ushered his family out of the restaurant. However, Cooper wasn't about to let them escape.
She followed them outside and waited as they got into the car, noting down their license plate number. "They drove away so fast, the mom didn’t even strap the baby into her car seat," she said.
The 21-year-old then called the Department of Children and Family Services and the local police. However, because the couple was from outside the state, one of Cooper's friends who worked as a 911 Metropolis operator ensured the relevant information was passed down to the Paris Police Department in Tennessee, where the pair lived.
A welfare check conducted at their home the same night confirmed Pierce and Woodworth were abusive, with an officer who responded to the residence stating he saw bruises from the jawline to the hairline of the infant.
The infant was taken into the emergency room for treatment and the Department of Children's Services subsequently took both children into custody. Woodworth and Pierce are currently being held on child abuse and neglect charges at the Henry County Jail on $200,000 bonds.
In a Facebook post after the arrest, Cooper wrote, "I don’t want to be thanked for doing something I would hope most would do. It’s our job as humans to protect these young children. I work with an amazing company that I consider family and I thank them for also being an eye for those poor children it wasn’t just me making a phone call. As far as I know, the oldest child is in great care now and the baby is in state custody so our hearts can now be at rest."