Man, woman charged after Independence police investigate Ring video of child’s beating

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 3:52 PM CST
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) - The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has charged an Independence man and woman after concerned community members contacted Independence police to report a video showing a child’s beating.

Terry L. Watson is charged with first-degree domestic assault and abuse or neglect of a child. Tiffnee Hockaday is charged with child abuse or neglect of a child. Prosecutors requested a $50,000 cash-only bond for Hockaday and $75,000 cash-only bond for Watson.

According to court records, an Independence police investigation revealed a Ring doorbell had captured video that showed Hockaday throwing a child victim by their arm to Watson. Watson punched the child with a closed fist and covered the child’s nose and mouth, making it difficult for the child to breathe.

Court records state the video was shared with police on Nov. 7.

Watson had previously been reported to police on April 15 by customers at an IHOP. Court records state customers told police they saw Watson strike a child with a closed fist inside of the restaurant.

“If you see something that, just in your gut, makes you feel like perhaps a child is not safe, it’s important to say something,” said Kristina Jones, Vice President of Programs for the nonprofit Child Abuse Prevention Association.

CAPA aims to prevent and treat all forms of child abuse and neglect.

Jones encourages community members to report suspected child abuse or neglect, even if they are not a mandated reporter.

“We all are a part of the mission of protecting children,” Jones said. “It takes all of us to keep kids safe.”

Independence police said the child seen in the video is safe.

Investigators thanked everyone who saw the video and reported it to the police so action could be taken.

“No matter what, if you see something -- that a child is in danger of being harmed or not getting everything that they need in terms of food, shelter, supervision, education -- it’s important to say something.” Jones said. “There are lots of outcomes to saying something. It is not always the extreme outcome of a child being taken away from their family.”

If you suspect child abuse or neglect in Missouri, you can call the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738.

In Kansas, you can report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330.

Previous coverage:

2 charged after video doorbell records child being beaten in Independence