Mommy blogger who wrote viral ‘Walmart pink headband’ post Baker Acted in Central Florida

 

Orlando Sentinel

A mommy blogger whose post What happened when my son wore a pink headband to Walmart went viral on the Internet last weekend was Baker Acted after making suicidal comments to deputies, according to a Lake County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

On Aug. 2, the blog post, written under the byline Katie Vyktoriah, was published on the Huffington Post website and quickly went viral.

The Sheriff’s Office report identified the blogger as Kathleen Carpenter. In the blog, the author wrote that her two-year-old son had worn a pink headband in a Central Florida Walmart store, and a man approached her and yelled out, “That’s a boy?!” according to the post. Here’s what the author wrote next:

“With no notice, the man stepped forward, grabbed the headband off of Dexter’s head and threw it to the bottom of our shopping cart. He then cuffed Dexter around the side of his head (not hard, but that is not the point) and said with a big laugh, ‘You’ll thank me later, little man!’”

Then according to the post, the man hurled a homophobic epithet at her toddler.

The post was picked up by media all over the Internet, and soon, people posted outraged comments of support for the mother. But there were also comments questioning the validity of her story.

In the post, she wrote that she did not notify the store management or the police about the incident when it occurred.

According to Polk County Sheriff’s Office documents, at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from Carpenter’s home reporting that Carpenter and her son were harassed at Walmart the week before and that after she blogged about the incident, “now they are receiving threats.”

The report on the “harassing/obscene phone calls” was written up by a deputy on Monday. In it, the deputy notes that patrols have been requested in the area for the next two weeks in response to the threats.

In an update on her Facebook page, “A Mother Thing” late Saturday, the woman wrote “The Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy has just left our home, and all information about the original Wal Mart incident and the ongoing harassment has been documented and is being dealt with. I have been advised NOT to say any more about the situation, as the investigation is ongoing, so thank you all for your support, but I am going to be offline for the next while until all of this is resolved.”

No further posts have been written and her “A Mother Thing” blog has been taken down.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office report, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office became aware of Carpenter’s blog post detailing the alleged incident at a Walmart in Clermont. Since Polk County was eventually mentioned specifically in the blog as being the responding agency, a Sheriff’s Office lieutenant requested a deputy go meet with Carpenter.

Another Polk Sheriff’s report states that on Monday at about 9 p.m., a deputy went to Carpenter’s home to “assist” the Lake Sheriff’s office with the battery case, since it had allegedly taken place in Lake County. While deputies were there, Carpenter explained that her two-year-old had been battered at the Walmart. Then, according to the report, she “made statements that met the criteria for a Law Enforcement Baker Act.”

At that time, she was taken into custody by the Polk deputy under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows law-enforcement to hospitalize people for mental-health evaluation.

No further details were included.

When the Lake County Sheriff’s Office report was taken Monday night, a deputy stated, “Based on the continuing media response through Facebook and generated response to the incident by online subscribers, possible video of the incident may be obtained and viewed to in fact verify that the incident actually did occur or if it was all made up.”

The deputy also noted that Polk County deputies had launched the case for harassing communication based on more than 11,000 emails Carpenter had received so far in response to her blog post.

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