Social media causes problems in local child abuse case

Picture on social media affecting local child abuse case

GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - The Gosnell Police Department has arrested two people in connection with a child abuse case.

According to Assistant Police Chief Andrew Wyles, the investigation began early Tuesday morning.

Anthony Mosely, 22, is charged with one count of first-degree domestic battery.

The victim's mother, Sarah Keeling, has also been arrested. She is charged with permitting child abuse.

In a PC hearing Wednesday, Mosely was issued a $150,000 cash bond and Keeling was issued a $100,000 cash bond.

Wyles said both are expected in court Friday.

But even before police caught up with one of the suspects, a gruesome picture of the three-year-old victim started making its rounds on social media.

"Once that photograph hit social media, the phone calls just flooded this department," Wyles said.

Phone calls came in from right inside the Gosnell community all the way to California.

People were outraged and wanted justice for that three-year-old girl.

Though Gosnell Assistant Police Chief Andrew Wyles knows people are trying to help, in this instance it could be doing more harm.

"It interfered with our investigation," Wyles said. "I couldn't focus on trying to get him arrested because of the phone calls."

And with phone calls also came threats.

Wyles said both Mosely and Keeling's families are now receiving threats through social media.

"That's not going to solve anything," Wyles said. "It just created a lot more problems than it helped."

The family of the child's biological father reached out as well saying they were not aware of the abuse because they live in a different state. They also said the biological father was the one who reported the abuse and took the child to the hospital.

And even now that two are in custody, continuing to share the photo and information on Facebook, Wyles said could still hinder the case.

"If it was to ever go to a jury trial, the jury pool here in this county is tainted," Wyles said.

Ultimately affecting justice for the baby girl.

"It could harm it that bad to where he wouldn't answer for his crime," Wyles said.

Wyles asked that anyone who has shared the photo or information delete it immediately.

"All I can do is ask to please remove it," Wyles said. "That child 20 years from now is not going to want that picture out there."

And let police and the justice system do their job.

"Nobody's looking for anybody anymore, vigilante justice doesn't work," Wyles said. "If he did it, he'll answer for his crimes."

A report with more information is also expected to be released at a later time.

Wyles said the investigation was ongoing.

In a post on the Gosnell Police Department's Facebook page, they asked the public to please not share any information or pictures from this incident on social media since it could impact the case.

Copyright 2018 KAIT. All rights reserved.