Daycare owner Martha McClure, was assaulted while trying keep a father from his three children.
According to the Associated Press, Martha was aware that Francis Joseph Jackson had his parental rights suspended and wasn’t allowed to have contact with any of his children.
After refusing to let Francis take his kids, it’s reported that Martha escorted him out of the building and locked the door. Francis then started throwing toys at the windows in an attempt to break back into the building for his kids, WREG reports.
As a verbal argument ensued, an unknown woman, presumed to be Francis’s girlfriend, hit Martha in the face with a shovel. Afterwards, the father-of-three struck her again with his fist knocking her down.
The couple then fled the scene without the children, all of whom are under the age of four.
Martha told the authorities she could smell alcohol on his breath.
James Lapotka, deputy county attorney, tells the Associated Press that he wrote in an affidavit that Jackson “has been in an ongoing CPS case for the past three years” and was served court papers saying the agency had legal custody of his children.
In an interview with KTMF-TV, Martha said she did what she did because it’s her job to protect the children she looks after.
“I protect these children as if they’re my own because when they hit the door in the morning at 6:30 they are mine until their mothers come for them,” McClure says. “I’m responsible for their lives, their safety.”
The Associated Press reports that Francis was arrested on Monday and his being held on $100,000 bond. His alleged girlfriend remains unidentified, and has not yet been arrested.
The same day Francis was arrested, Martha had eye surgery and according to an update on her GoFundMe account, she continues to improve.
“She is not only a loving, caring, and very supportive mother, but loves every child that is in her care as one of her own,” Krista Osterwyk-McKnight writes. “Thank you for all your prayers and support.”
Almost $21,000 has been raised to help Martha pay medical bills, hire help in her daycare as she recovers, and to seek counseling.