How can a mother do this to children?
Every once in a while, a story breaks out of one of the unlikeliest places in America, and it makes us realize that no place and no person is absolutely perfect. You can never really tell what goes on behind your neighbor’s closed door. After something terrible is found out, the news crews will often find a neighbor to interview who says that they had no idea the perpetrator was up to no good. “They were pretty normal to me,” you can hear them say. This story is just one in a long line of shocking suburb stories.
Keri Harwood seemed like she had the most picture-perfect life; she was a 28-year-old wife and mother who held down a job and had a thriving hobby. She and her little family had just moved to the semi-rural town New River, Arizona where she had a job as a customer service administrator at Earnhardt Hyundai.
She also indulged in her photography hobby when she could, filling her Flikr, Instagram, and Facebook accounts with beautiful, serene photographs of her happy, smiling family and friends doing average activities like sledding and playing at the beach. She even captioned her Instagram account, “Married my high school sweetheart. We have a little girl she’s amazing and a little boy so super sweet.” Life seemed perfect.
However, evil that no one had any idea existed was lurking in Keri’s family home. News of the vile things that happened in the New River home shook not only the community but the entire nation. How can someone with such a picturesque life do this? The truth is that terrible things can happen in any community at any time, and this is just one more story.
Keri was an avid Pokémon Go player, but she said that bad internet connectivity at her house was making it quite hard to catch the virtual creatures. She gave a friend and neighbor her log-in credentials for the game so that he could catch them for her, and it led him to discover what Keri had really been doing.
The Pokémon Go app was connected to Keri’s Gmail account, and the man playing the game for her somehow noticed two illicit and distressing videos in her Gmail that appeared to show a woman molesting two young children. He also found several Paypal transactions in the amounts of $115, $101, and $50 that he believed to be related to the videos. He swiftly called police about the discovery, and they leapt into action.
Police obtained a search warrant and headed over to Keri’s home on August 13. Neighbor Pam Allen described the scene, “There were all these cars, and men with guns and carrying shields. It was like an army.” She readily admitted to abusing two children on five occasions. It’s believed that the children were her own six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.
While her husband Cody was at work, she would bring them into the bathroom and bathe them while also touching them. To make matters worse, she said that she created the videos for a man who gave her money for them. This guy, who possibly lives in Texas, had been paying Keri for months for Snapchat videos of her masturbating. She claimed that she started making videos with the children per his request because she “needed the money” and because she just didn’t want to disappoint her sexting buddy.
For the five to six videos that she sent him molesting children, he gave her about $500-$600 over the course of a few months. Police have a warrant out for this man and are actively seeking to arrest him.