JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville mother was arrested Thursday after stomach-churning cellphone video of her daughter licking a tongue depressor at a dentist's office and putting it back in the jar went viral.
Cori Ward, 30, was booked into the Duval County jail about 11 a.m. on a felony charge of tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or bodily injury, according to jail records.
If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The video was filmed Tuesday at the All About Kids & Families Medical Center, a clinic in the Fort Caroline neighborhood. The medical center called for a police investigation after the clip surfaced.
In an interview with News4Jax, Ward acknowledged that she recorded the video and posted it on Snapchat. The clip was accompanied by the caption: "Don't tell me how to live my life." From there, it made its way to the popular Facebook page "Only in Duval."
"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.
Prior to her arrest, Ward expressed fear about going to jail. She was particularly concerned that it might lead to her children being taken away.
"I just care about my kids and how this is going to affect them," she told News4Jax.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said he was not surprised by how quickly police made the arrest.
"Simply because of all of the communicable diseases that can be floating around by virtue of this kind of act," he said. “I think the message is loud and clear, if this sort of thing continues to go on, they’re going to continue to make arrests."
The medical center said the materials that were in the exam room have since been removed and resanitized, noting among other things that there was no ongoing risk for patients visiting the clinic:
"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."
The video is the latest in a string of similar incidents at businesses across the country. It started with a teen who was seen licking the top of an ice cream tub before placing it back inside a store freezer.