LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A South Florida mother was escorted out of Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot theme park in handcuffs, charged with child abuse.
“She absolutely meant to dump the children out of the stroller. As she was doing it, she was cursing about the children and how awful they were and that they’d been misbehaving all day and it was all their fault,” said Lanita, one of the park-goers who Orange County sheriff's deputies say witnessed the abuse.
Thursday afternoon, she was still shaken, talking about what she saw as she was leaving Epcot around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday night.
“I heard a bunch of yelling and screaming and just some commotion and there were sheriff’s deputies around a woman with a stroller. All of a sudden she just picked up the stroller and started slamming it around and dumped her children out of the stroller. All saw was a young child fall out of the stroller and smack her face on the ground and then a second child fall right after that,” said Lanita.
Sara Krysteen Villar, 34, is now charged with child abuse and criminal mischief. According to her arrest affidavit, the trouble started inside the restroom near the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. Another woman called 911 reporting that Villar was yelling at the children and that, “the woman pulled the child by the harness the child had attached to her body which made the child hit her head on the bathroom floor,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Lanita was not in the restroom. She says she did notice the child wearing a harness.
“She had a leash on. It was like a Mickey Mouse leash that they had on her.”
Lanita came across the chaos second after police started talking to Villar. She says she stepped in to help the little girls up off the ground and comfort them.
“I was just trying to distract the children and get them calm. Because they were crying and screaming and hurt,” said Lanita.
She says even as deputies were cuffing Villar, Villar wasn’t letting up.
“The mother just kept yelling at the children like, ‘this is all your fault, you guys are so bad.’ She kept emotionally and verbally abusing the children the whole time deputies had her in handcuffs. It’s a horrific scene she just couldn’t shake. “I just can’t stop thinking about these little girls.”
Investigators say Villar got combative as they escorted her out to the patrol car, saying she slammed her head into the side of the car leaving a large dent. Lanita says a family member staying at a nearby resort came to pick the little girls up.
The Department of Children and Family Services says they are now involved and investigating the situation.