Police: 'Solid Move' for Flight Attendant to Take Child Away From Angry Mom
August 18, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A flight attendant broke up a family feud on Monday, removing a baby from her parents after the mother slapped the child onboard a flight.
Beverly McCurley, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, told police she got involved when passengers complained a mother on the plane was hitting her 13-month-old daughter in the face to stop her from crying, The Associated Press reports.
McCurley found the baby’s parents fighting furiously, and saw the mother, Lee Ann Cid, “strike the child with an open hand on the face,” according to ABC News.
“The mother appeared agitated with the child,” reads the police report. “The husband continued to yell at his wife to shut up due to her screaming at the child.”
When the plane landed in Albuquerque, paramedics checked the baby while Lee Ann and her husband Joseph met with aviation police.
The police also interviewed McCurley and some of the passengers who witnessed the scene.
After determining the mother’s behavior appeared to be an isolated case, the police returned the baby to the parents, who did not receive a citation and were allowed to continue to their final destination.
The child did have a black eye, ABC reports, but the Cids told police it was caused by an uncle’s dog.
Whitney Eichinger, a representative for Southwest Airlines, confirmed that an incident had taken place on the flight, but denied that McCurley had taken custody of the child in flight.
“What you read about the flight attendant taking the baby is not the case. She did it as a ‘Would you like me to bounce your baby for you?’” Eichinger told ABC.
“The family on board was having an altercation and their young child was upset. Our flight attendant offered to the parent — offered to hold the child on board. Our attendants do that from time to time just to soothe the crying babies because they are used to walking up and down the aisles.”
Police disagreed, telling ABC that McCurley took the baby to remove her from harm’s way.
“I think it was a solid move from the part of the flight attendant to take custody of the child,” airport police chief Marshall Katz said. “It neutralized the situation, it calmed everybody down.”