US

Police Arrest Mom After Girl Seen on Video Licking Tongue Depressor, Putting It Back

By Zachary Stieber

A Florida woman has been arrested after being identified as the mother of a girl seen in a viral video licking a tongue depressor in a doctor’s office before putting it back in its container.

Already shocking, the video’s spread was fueled by interest in product tampering that was ignited in June when a Texas girl was filmed opening an ice cream container, licking the ice cream, and putting it back into the freezer at a local Walmart.

Cori Ward, 30, was identified as the girl’s mother.

She was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail on the morning of July 11, according to jail records obtained by News 4 Jax. She was charged with the felony of tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or bodily injury.

Ward told the broadcaster that she was both the person who filmed the footage and the one who posted it on social media.

She said she posted it on Snapchat and someone else captured the video and re-posted it to a Facebook page that shares local Duval news.

“I had just been waiting a long time,” said Ward, noting that she regrets what happened. “I was just being silly with my kids.”

“It’s ruined my life right now. That’s how I feel at least,” she added.

Ward told another outlet that when she filmed the video she wasn’t thinking.

“I mean honestly I wasn’t thinking,” she told Action News Jax.

“I know what it’s like to, you know, have to worry about your kids’ health and stuff. I would never put somebody else’s kid at risk.”

“I’m sorry for anyone that it’s offended. It should have never been taken this far,” she added.

The broadcaster’s legal expert, Dale Carson, said that the charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson will decide whether or not to pursue charges, he said. “If she decides not to charge then the matter is simply diverted or it’s transferred to court—meaning moved from a felony to a misdemeanor,” he explained.

The doctor’s office where the incident happened was named as the All About Kids and Families Medical Center, located on Fort Caroline Road.

In a statement sent to news outlets, the center stated: “We were notified yesterday that a patient violated our trust with behavior that is inconsistent with the practices and standards that we uphold and expect at our facility.”

“Upon notification of this isolated incident, we contacted law enforcement to request a full and thorough investigation. In addition, we immediately removed all materials and container from the specific exam room and re-sanitized our entire facility. Our internal investigation does not reveal any resulting risks or harm to patients from this action,” it continued.

“This type of behavior is not tolerated at All About Kids and Families Medical Center. Each year, we serve thousands of patients, and providing quality care and ensuring their safety is our top priority.”