By Erica Morse
Editor-in-Chief, Victims News Online
Updated 9:20 p.m., Feb. 6, 2013
Editor’s note: this article is an update from previous coverage. For earlier reports on this situation, you may begin by clicking here.
(VNO) — A man publicly accused of child abuse on Facebook this week has been arrested and is in custody, according to Louisiana authorities.
Dusty Wes Edwards was arrested today and is being held in the Concordia Parish Jail in Vidalia, LA. It appears the arrest is related to the alleged child abuse charges that generated thousands of Facebook followers in a matter of 48 hours.
The situation began over the weekend when a Facebook page was created with the image of a child who appeared to have been physically abused. People claiming to be family members of the alleged victim claimed the man had beaten the child, and provided several photos to support their assertions. Edwards’ name, photo and a description of his vehicle — including license plate number — was shared more than 52,000 times before the page was shut down Tuesday morning, with the administrators of the page asking the public to assist them in locating Edwards.
The incident was alleged to have occurred in the jurisdiction of Walker, LA, approximately two hours’ south of Vidalia, where he is currently in custody. Although the Walker Police Department did not confirm — or deny — the claims made against Edwards, they did release a statement Monday evening regarding the situation, after dozens of threats had been made online against the man. The statement from the Walker PD said that, although they were aware of the page and the allegations, their department was unable to acknowledge whether or not the matter was being investigated.
The Walker Police Department has since released a follow-up statement regarding the situation:
On Monday of this week, following our investigation of child cruelty allegations, we obtained a warrant for the arrest of Dusty Wes Edwards (32) of Ferriday, Louisiana. At our request, Edwards was arrested this morning by the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Edwards will remain in jail until tomorrow, at which time Walker Police officers will take him into custody and return him to Livingston Parish, where he will be booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on charges of Second Degree Cruelty to a Juvenile. Thank you all for your comments and concerns over the last several days regarding this matter.
Stay with Victims News Online for further updates on this story as they become available.