Police Arrest Middle River Mom Seen Hitting Kids in Viral Video

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Rachel Pietro, 26, via Baltimore County Police

A Baltimore County woman loathed by many after a viral video showed her hitting her young children is now behind bars.

Baltimore County police announced today that they’ve arrested Rachel Marie Pietro, 26, of Cool Breeze Drive in Middle River, on child abuse and assault charges. Pietro was seen in a viral clip repeatedly hitting two children who police now say were her 6-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

The video, originally shared by Pietro herself via social media, sparked outrage across the internet and was picked up by outlets from outside the Baltimore area, including the The New York Post and People Magazine. The Post reported the Baltimore Child Abuse Center’s director said they had received more than 200 emails in connection with the video.

In the clip, Pietro appears to hit a young girl, presumably her daughter, on her front and back sides on her bed. She then turns toward a young boy, likely her son, and appears to also hit him multiple times on the head. Afterward, she screams at the camera so loudly that it blares out most of her words. The piece that does come through the microphone indicates that she will “beat these kids to death.”

Police said one of the children suffered minor injuries. Pietro also has another child, a 2-year-old boy not seen in the video.

Police said last Thursday that they were investigating the case after it made the rounds online. At that point, they said they had identified the family as being from the Essex/Middle River area and that the children were transferred to the care of family members by way of the Department of Social Services. Today, they said they spoke to Pietro and her husband in the early hours of March 16.

Pietro told investigators she made the video because she “hoped it would encourage her husband to come home and take care of her,” and because she was mad at her children.

Investigators found the video was recorded sometime within the last two months, even though Pietro told them it was from two years ago.

Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said authorities would not release any additional police records about the case until she had spoken with the police department’s legal team. Records from cases involving the Department of Social Services oftentimes are not released to the public, she said.

Court records show Pietro faces two counts apiece of second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault, and that she was arrested yesterday. A court date and an attorney are not listed under her case online.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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