The new year is off to a bumpy start for a Georgia couple. They've just been charged for illegally tattooing their own children. Although child protective services originally seized the children, they are now back with the parents until the case goes to court.
Two of the children tattoos are not the accused mother's children. Their biological mother was the one who discovered the tattoo marks and tipped off Chattanooga County police. The tattooing was done by Patti Jo (Jo-Jo) Marsh
and her partner, who is alternately listed as Jacob Edwards or Jacob Bartels. The tattooing was done with a homemade "tattoo machine" crafted from a plastic pen and using a guitar string for a needle. There is no evidence that either parent has any training or experience professionally doing tattoos.
According to Georgia laws passed in 1999, it is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of eighteen unless it is for a medical purpose. The law defines tattooing as meaning to mark her color the skin of a person, using any means to prick or implant pigment, or produce scars. Violating this law is a misdemeanor. It is also states that tattooing without having first obtained a valid permit to operate a tattoo studio is also illegal.
March and her partner are now facing three counts each of illegal tattooing, second-degree child cruelty charges, and charges of reckless conduct. The children tattooed were between the ages of ten and seventeen. Five of the children had small acts like tattoos on their hands, meant to appear as crosses. The sixth child, the 17-year-old, had the words "mom and dad" on his arm.
In comments made to the media, Marsh has stated that the children begged her for tattoos like her own. She also remarked that the tattoos done on the children only go through the first few layers of skin and therefore aren't going to be permanent. She has also stated she feels that as their mother, she should be able to do what ever she wishes to her children. Marsh and Edwards were arrested a few days after Christmas, and were released from jail on bond just after the new year.