Michelle Schwab Charged With Child Endangerment After Allegedly Dangling 2-Year-Old Over A Cheetah Exhibit At The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Michelle Schwab has been charged with misdemeanor child endangering after her 2-year-old son fell into the cheetah enclosure at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Michelle Schwab Charged With Child Endangerment
Schwab, 38, was visiting the Cleveland Zoo on Saturday, April 11, with her toddler son and husband when the incident occurred. The 2-year-old reportedly fell 10-feet into the cheetah exhibit after his mother dangled him over the fence, resulting in the charges.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has temporarily closed off the cheetah viewing area where the incident took place, and released a statement confirming that witnesses saw Schwab holding her son over the railing.
“While this incident is disturbing to everyone, we are glad injuries were not any more severe…. We have a number of eyewitness accounts that indicate the child was held over the railing and then dropped,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Director Christopher Kuhar.
According to officials, the cheetahs never approached the boy, but he did suffer a broken leg. A witness told ABC News that Schwab and her husband, Cory Schwab, jumped in after their son and successfully retrieved him as onlookers tried to help by lifting them up over the enclosures and distracting the cheetahs, though the animals appeared to pay them no mind.
Schwab works as an assistant director for a KinderCare child-care center in Columbus, but appears to have been put on leave. KinderCare spokeswoman Colleen Moran told reporters, “Schwab is currently home with her family and will remain out of or center while this issue is investigated and addressed…. In addition to the agencies looking into this issue, we are looking into the incident further ourselves, as we closely examine issues involving the treatment of children by our employees, even if those incidents arise outside of our centers.”
Schwab has remained silent on the incident, and her husband told reporters, “We are really just worried about our child.”
Schwab is expected to appear in Cleveland Municipal Court on April 22. If found guilty, Schwab could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.