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Parents Charged After Police Find Video Of Them Encouraging Toddler To Put A Gun In Her Mouth

The couple, who are 19 and 22, can be heard encouraging the girl to say "pow" while she holds the firearm.

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A young Indiana couple was charged with child neglect after investigators found a video where the couple can be heard telling their 1-year-old daughter to put a gun in her mouth, Reuters reported.

The video was found on the phone of 19-year-old Michael Barnes, who was arrested last week when he made a deal to sell an undercover officer a handgun, Evansville police said in a statement.


Barnes and his wife, 22-year-old Toni Wilson, were arrested after authorities found the video while going through Barnes' phone. In the video, the couple could be heard encouraging their daughter to play with the gun.

"Barnes can be heard telling the child to say 'pow' on multiple occasions while the child plays with the gun," the police statement said. "The video also shows the child placing the muzzle of the gun in her mouth. At no point does Barnes try to stop the child from playing with the gun."

The toddler's mother told police the weapon was a pellet gun, but police say it was a .40 caliber handgun. It is not clear if there was ammunition in the chamber, but the gun's magazine appeared to be removed, police said.

Both parents face charges for child neglect and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

Police said the child, along with one-month-old twins who were also in the home, have been placed in emergency care.

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Rachel Zarrell at

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