The Cleveland, Texas Police Department and Child Protective Services are investigating after photos appearing to show a little girl being dragged through a Walmart by her hair were shared by thousands across social media.

Facebook user Erika Burch posted the photos on Monday, September 19. By Wednesday, they'd been shared by over 130,000 other users.


Burch said she and a man named Robert were shopping in the Cleveland Walmart when they spotted the man dragging the girl. Burch said the girl's hair was wrapped around part of the shopping cart, and the girl was crying out, "Please stop" and "I won't do it again."

According to Burch, she confronted the man after taking pictures of the alleged abuse, and he told her to "mind [her] own business."

Burch reportedly said the girl was her business and that the man needed to let her go. She says he responded with, "I grew up just fine."

Burch called police, who later said they couldn't make an arrest because they could see no signs of bodily harm to the child.

After Burch's post was shared by thousands and calls flooded the Cleveland PD, police and Child Protective Services opened a joint investigation of the incident.

Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard told the Houston Chronicle the man in the photos, whom he did not identify, told police he has three children, including the 5-year-old girl. The father said his daughter was being disruptive in the store, and that holding her by the hair was his way of disciplining her.

Tejal Patel with CPS told the Chronicle that investigators are working with police to determine if there is a pattern of inappropriate discipline.