Social media users are in an uproar over images of a toddler in Colorado whose aunt says he is being abused by his mother.
On July 9, Susan Cain uploaded four pictures of her brother’s 21-month-old son, Natas Nigh, to Facebook. In one picture he has a bloody face. In another, he has a cigarette burn on his thigh.
Natas’ father, Patrick, is currently in jail for domestic abuse that reportedly did not result in injury. According to Cain, Natas’ mother is responsible for the injuries depicted in the photos.
Cain’s post has been shared more than 39,000 times.
“Complete neglect. Where he’s being left alone and someone needs to look into it,” Cain told KMGH. “When I saw the cigarette burn, that was enough. I’m just tired of seeing all the injuries on the child.”
She said she decided to post the images online after calling social services multiple times with no success.
“I figured the best way to go would be social media. Maybe that would finally get their attention.”
“He needs a good, loving home where he can grow up healthy and strong without a negative environment around him,” Cain added.
KMGH also reached out to Natas’ mother, Lindsay Swisher, who denies ever having abused her son. She said individuals from Child Protective Services have been to her home several times.
“I have peed for CPS. I have done everything for CPS,” Swisher said. “And they keep walking away with a closed case, because I am not an abusive mom. I’m not a bad mom. We are just trying to get over six years of really hard stuff.”
But what about Natas’ injuries?
Swisher said the toddler bloodied his face after accidentally slamming into a table. And she explained the cigarette burn by saying he jumped into her lap while she was smoking.
She went on to say that, because of Cain’s Facebook post, she is now receiving a torrent of abuse both online and in person.
“I have received countless, horrible messages and threats. For what? Because CPS is going to close this case too, because she’s wrong,” Swisher told KMGH. “All she’s done is prevented me from future employers. I can’t walk out in the street right now without people pointing at me and my son.”
“I think anybody that uses social media to attack anybody, including single moms, especially single moms who are doing their best — I think they need to take a good long hard look in the mirror.”
In a July 11 update to her Facebook post, Cain wrote that Social Services is lying to officials and has yet to contact her about the case. She added that she hopes news coverage of the story will pressure caseworkers to open an investigation.
A spokesperson for the Denver Police Department confirmed to KMGH that an investigation is underway but could not provide any details.