More child abuse charges could be laid in Twitch videos of Calgary parents, police say

Police have charged a Calgary mother in connection with a video posted to the live-streaming website Twitch that appears to show a woman slapping and biting a toddler.

Police say investigation continues after Fortnite-playing mother charged with assault

A screenshot from a video from live-streaming website Twitch. In the video, a user shown in the small webcam window in the top right hits and bites a child while playing the game Fortnite. The CBC has blurred some text on the page to obscure the user's Twitch and Twitter accounts, which the CBC is not naming to protect the identity of the child. (Twitter)

Police say a child abuse investigation into a Calgary mother who was charged in connection with a video posted to the live-streaming website Twitch continues, as officers review other videos posted by the family.

The Calgary Police Service's child abuse unit began investigating on Tuesday after police received multiple tips from the public about the video that appears to show a woman slapping and biting a toddler.

It shows a woman playing the video game Fortnite as she repeatedly slaps and then bites a screaming toddler, seemingly frustrated with the child for distracting her from the game. The video then cuts to a few hours later, showing her roughly handling an infant before throwing the child onto the bed she's sitting on.

The user's Twitch account, which the CBC is not naming to protect the identity of the children, appears to have been deleted, but a copy of the video was posted to Twitter on Monday. 

Alleged child abuse live streamed

3 years ago
Duration 1:18
In this video posted to livestreaming website Twitch, a Calgary woman hits, pushes and bites a young child while playing the game Fortnite. CBC News has altered and cropped the video to avoid identifying the child.

"It's very shocking, it's very concerning," said Staff Sgt. Peter Siegenthaler, with the child abuse unit. "We see more and more of these videos surface.… It's hard, because sometimes these videos have been circulated for years and it's hard to determine the origin and time these videos are produced."

Siegenthaler said tips about the video came in from as far away as California, and within two hours of viewing it, police were able to track the online persona to a Calgary residence, where officers found a woman, man and two children.

The woman was arrested and the children were taken to a safe location.

The 31-year-old woman has been charged with one count of assault for her conduct against the younger child.

She is set to appear in court on Jan. 17, 2020.

Her name will not be released to protect the identity of the children.

The timestamp on the video during the encounter with the toddler shows more than four hours had elapsed since the user began playing, and then during the encounter with the infant more than seven hours had elapsed. 

A spokesperson for Twitch confirmed in an email the user's account has been suspended. The spokesperson said the company would not provide further comment.

The Twitter user who recorded and posted the clip confirmed to CBC News that he reported the incident to Crime Stoppers. 

Husband's videos also under investigation

"This investigation is continuing because there are other videos out there," Siegenthaler said.

CBC News has viewed multiple Twitch videos from an account identified as belonging to the woman's husband. They show a man berating the two children in a loud voice while using profanities, and ignoring screams and cries of children while gaming.

Staff Sgt. Peter Siegenthaler with the CPS child abuse unit says police are also looking into videos posted by the woman's husband. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Siegenthaler said he could not confirm if charges are pending against the husband and said police only became aware of the husband's videos Wednesday morning. But he did say there is a "good likelihood" further charges will be laid.

In a Twitch video posted Sunday on the husband's account, two women can be heard talking in the background while the man plays Fortnite.

"They're gonna think I've abused him, though," one woman says.

"Oh, my goodness, what did he do?" the other woman asks.

"He was climbing up in the closet," the first woman says.

Approximately six hours and 45 minutes into that video, a child can be heard loudly crying and whining in the background as a woman repeatedly says, "Go to sleep."

In another video, the man steps away from the game briefly, visibly annoyed by the sound of a screaming child.

"Can you f--king stop. It's not f--king torture ... great now I'm gonna f--king die," he says, placing the screaming child on his lap, and, ignoring the child, returning to his game. 

CBC News reached out to both the woman and her husband and has yet to receive a response.

Siegenthaler said police rely on tips from the public in cases like this. 

"If you come across one of those videos, pick up the phone, let us know," he said. 

With files from Colleen Underwood, John Gibson