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Sheriff: Mom of Polk suicide suspect arrested

The 30-year-old woman has been charged with two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect. The charges are not related to the cyber-bullying case against her 14-year-old daughter.

The 14-year-old girl, along with a 12-year-old girl, have been charged with felony aggravated stalking that resulted in the Sept. 9 suicide of Rebecca Ann Sedwick, who jumped to her death from a tower at an abandoned concrete plant.

The Tribune has not named the woman's daughter because of her age and because she is not charged with an act of violence. The Tribune also is not naming her mother because that would identify her daughter.

The sheriff's office arrested the woman because of a video posted on Facebook this summer that shows the woman hitting two boys in the bedroom of her Lakeland home.

The investigation began after people in the community contacted the sheriff's office and encouraged investigators to look at the Facebook video, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The woman had told media outlets after her daughter was arrested that bullying and fighting didn't happen in their home.

“The apple doesn't fall from the tree,” Judd said.

In the video, which was posted in July on Facebook, the woman is seen entering a bedroom in her Lakeland home where two 12 year old boys are fighting on the bed. The woman, who is not the mother of the two boys, starts punching one boy. She then turns and punches the other boy in the face, and he slides from the bed onto the floor.

The video shows the woman continuing to punch the other boy, who is still on the bed. .

The video shows a total of six children in the home, ranging in age from 9 to 14. During the altercation, the children and the woman are heard screaming, yelling and cursing. Some of the children are laughing and cheering during the fight. The video was posted by a child who was at the home during the fight, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators met with the children who were in the home. One child said he remembered being hit by the woman. Another said he didn't remember being hit but told investigators she had hit him in the past, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators then interviewed the woman, who said at first she was trying to break up a serious fight. She then told the investigators she had been having a bad day at work and hadn't been feeling well, the sheriff's office said.

She told investigators that she hit one boy in the face and hit the other boy about 10 times in the back and shoulders, the sheriff's office said.

She told investigators she went too far and “it got out of hand.” After the fight, she apologized to both boys, the sheriff's office said.

The woman is being held in the Polk County Jail with no bail. She will attend a first-appearance hearing in front of a judge at 8 a.m. Saturday.

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