Mother charged in Pa. duct-taped child case

February 17, 2011 7:08:39 AM PST
The mother of a child who was photographed bound to a chair with duct tape in Delaware County has now been charged in the case.

Action News was there as 21-year-old Caira Ferguson as she was led away in handcuffs from her home in the 1200 block of Elson in the Toby Farms community in Chester Township on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, police say she admitted duct taping her child to a chair. However, by Wednesday night, Ferguson was denying everything to reporters.

When asked if she taped up her daughter, Ferguson said "No, I did not." When asked how her daughter is doing, Ferguson said "She's great. She's well taken care of."

Ferguson is now charged with False Imprisonment, Unlawful Restraint, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Corruption of Morals because other children were in the home. She was initially arrested on outstanding warrants.

The photo shows a diaper-wearing girl with duct tape over her mouth. Ferguson is also seen, police said, with her head resting on the child's shoulder.

The girl in the photo was 18 months old when the picture was taken back in the summer. The girl is two years old now.

Police went to Ferguson's house on Wednesday with a search warrant and, a short time later, an officer came out of the house with what appears to be the chair the girl was taped to. Police say the chair still had remnants of duct tape on the arms and legs.

Police say they came upon the photo after Ferguson went to them, claiming her identity had been stolen and showed them the picture that someone had posted online as proof.

The picture somehow ended up on, an urban website. Police say Ferguson told them it was posted online by someone else.

Witnesses, however, told police they were present when Ferguson took the picture.

"I don't think you could see it now, but if you go to the media website, she had some 330,000 hits and most of the comments were that of disgust," said Chief Kenneth Coalson of the Chester Township Police Deptartment.

Ferguson was defiant as she was being taken away to prison. Action News' Dann Cuellar asked Ferguson, "What kind of mother are you?" Her response, "What kind of people are you?"

As stated earlier, sources tell Action News Ferguson admitted earlier that she taped the child, but wasn't saying why. She would only say at the time it wasn't done for punishment or as a joke.

The police say if it was a joke, it's not funny.

"I mean, just looking at it, it's pretty disgusting," Coalson said.

The image, given to Action News by the Chester Township Police Department, had a previously created credit to the aforementioned website The faces of the child, and of Ferguson, were blurred out.

Child welfare agents are now involved in the case. They were seen leaving Ferguson's home with the little girl and her grandmother, but they won't say where the child is staying now.

Some of her neighbors were trying to make sense of it all Wednesday night.

"Why would you do that to a little child like that? That's my concern," Winnie Garland said.

"It might have been a joke, it might have been that she was depressed?it's not funny, it's truly not funny," William Trowly said.

Ferguson is now at the George Hill Correctional Facility. She is being held without bail until her date in court.