SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have charged a mother with child abuse after surveillance video showed her throwing her 6-year-old son out of an SUV and slapping him in a Sunrise neighborhood.
The security footage captured Pamela Gaensel admonishing her son as he stood outside the SUV along the 10500 block of Sunset Strip, at around 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
The suspect later told police she reprimanded her son for unhooking his younger brother’s car seat on purpose, which caused him to fall when she stepped on the brakes.
But two minutes earlier, the video showed the boy being pulled from the vehicle, his legs smacked by the car seat. Moments later, the suspect helped her child back into the SUV.
According to Sunrise Police, the smacking sounds captured by the camera were slaps, and the boy is seen being pulled from the vehicle again.
Gaensel, 47, is seen tossing items over her son’s head and into the neighboring yard. The child retrieved the pieces himself.
Inside the SUV, detectives said, were Gaensel’s two other children, ages 7 and 3.
The footage later captured the suspect calling her son an expletive-laced name.
Someone later contacted police. It remains unclear who made the call.
After the incident, investigators went to Gaensel’s son’s school and saw marks that were consistent with someone who was slapped. Gaensel was detained by officers when she went to pick up her son from school.
On Thursday, Gaensel appeared before a judge. She faces one count of child abuse.
“When law enforcement examined the child and saw that the child had marks on his back from being slapped, marks and bruises on the child’s face, arms and palms,” said Assistant State Prosecutor Eric Linder.
Police said she was disciplining her son after he unhooked his younger brother’s car seat. She told detectives this scared her and spanked her son as a punishment.
“Ms. Gaensel claimed that this was essentially an act of discipline, noting that she only spanked the child,” Linder said. “I would imagine Ms. Gaensel did not realize, and this also goes to the strength of the evidence, that there appears to be a private homeowner, some individual that had closed circuit cameras the recorded the entire incident.”
The police report states that at one point, Gaensel pulled her son’s hair. She was given a $5,000 bond.
Wednesday night, 7News cameras captured her as she bonded out of jail. She covered her head with a jacket and declined to comment on her charge.
Gaensel’s three children have since been placed in the care of their father. It is now up to the Florida Department of Children and Families to decide whether or not she will be allowed to spend any time with her children.
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