PHOENIX (Reuters) - Two Arizona parents were arrested by sheriff’s deputies after apparently posting pictures on Facebook that showed their children, an infant and a toddler, bound with duct tape, authorities said on Thursday.
Coconino County deputies arrested Frankie Almuina, 20, and Kayla Almuina, 19, on suspicion of two counts of child abuse on Wednesday at their northern Arizona home after being alerted to the photos by an anonymous tip.
The children, a 2-year-old toddler and a 10-month-old infant, were seen online bound with duct tape on their wrists and ankles with their mouths taped shut, Commander Rex Gilliland told Reuters. One of the children was shown hanging upside down on an exercise machine.
The parents told investigators that the photos, posted on the mother’s Facebook account, were a joke and that the children were not harmed, Gilliland said.
“It’s clear in our minds that these children were placed in a very extreme situation,” Gilliland said. “By the look on their faces, they were in sheer terror. I don’t know how this could have been a joke.”
Authorities were called to the scene after a person who likely knew the couple saw the postings and called the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline, Gilliland said. The caller knew the names of the parents and where they lived.
He said investigators seized about a dozen similar photos, some that were not posted online, from the home north of Williams, Arizona, about 175 miles north of Phoenix.
The couple were being held in a county jail as of late on Thursday. The children have been turned over to another family member, Gilliland said.
Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston