Stranger spanks toddler in Kroger, says ‘This is what we do to kids in Mexico’


James Morris was not bothering a soul Tuesday as he stood in the self-checkout area of a local Kroger with his 2-year-old son.

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One minute, the toddler was asking for a candy bar. The next, a man with “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” was grabbing the boy by the arm and spanking him, according to a police report obtained from officials in Newnan, Ga., south of Atlanta. 

“I was watching what happened,” Morris told WSB-TV, “and I looked up at him and that’s when he made the statement, ‘This is what we do to kids in Mexico.’”

“I said, ‘Buddy, we’re not in Mexico.’”

Store employees quickly separated them. The report did not specify why or how many times 62-year-old Juan Guvarra Martinez hit the boy. 

When an officer tried to handcuff him, he resisted, officials said.

“Juan was taken to the ground and we were able to grab his arm so it could be cuffed,” police said. “We had to stand Juan up and escort him out of the business.”

Martinez later began kicking the doors and windows of the patrol car.

After he was cleared by Piedmont Newnan Hospital staff, Martinez was arrested on multiple charges, including simple battery, child cruelty, disorderly conduct, obstructing officers and violating probation, according to jail records.

He is in the Coweta County jail.

>> Related: Firefighter couple on leave after allegedly chopping child’s hair off as punishment

When he is released, he cannot return to Kroger. The store, police said, put Martinez on its “criminal trespass log.”


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