The image above was shot in November 2014 by Heather Whitten, as her husband cradled her ill son in a cold shower. The child was suffering from salmonella poisoning and had a high fever. Facebook repeatedly eliminated the viral picture.
According to Heather, “Thomas and I were investigated by Arizona’s Department of Child Safety (DCS) and the Sahuarita Police Department for a number of claims that the person made in their letter.”
The police said they weren’t going to take any action against the Whittens and DCS closed the case in July 2016.
However, an investigator from the department is escalating the issue, and according to Heather tried “to have me seen as an immodest, neglectful and abusive mother based on the single interview she had with me.”
If the claim is substantiated, Whitten will be added to Arizona’s Central Registry for 25 years, marking the end of her ability to adopt, foster, or even work with children as a photographer.
There is currently a Change.org petition with over 16,000 signatures in support of Whitten, and her day in court is coming up. The next step in the legal process—namely: whether or not the case will be thrown out—will be determined at an administrative hearing on February 3rd.
To support Heather or find out more about her story, click here.