A woman accused of beating her children and then threatening a flight attendant, who intervened while on a flight between San Francisco and Denver, was ordered jailed Wednesday until her next court hearing.
Tamera Jo Freeman, 38, faces a federal charge of interference with flight crew and assault, according to court documents. Magistrate Judge Boyd Boland ordered Freeman jailed until Friday, when she has a preliminary and detention hearing.
She was arrested Monday after the plane landed at Denver International Airport.
"We felt the safety of the passengers around this person, as well as the flight in general, were compromised so we took appropriate steps to handle the situation," said Frontier Airlines spokesman Joe Hodas.
According to an affidavit, witnesses told investigators that Freeman had been using profane language and hitting her children -- ages 2 and 4 -- to the point they were crying and trying to hide in a corner on the floor.
When a flight attendant intervened, Freeman allegedly threw a drink on the floor and confronted the flight attendant in a common area. The affidavit said Freeman became verbally abusive toward the flight attendant. The flight attendant then took a defensive stance and grabbed duct tape, according to the affidavit.
"That would be the next step is to use restraining tape if we feel the passenger is still posing a risk to themselves or the flight," Hodas said.
Witnesses said Freeman appeared to be intoxicated and that she had been drinking heavily.
Freeman told investigators that she slapped her children because they were fighting over a window shade. She denied throwing a drink, saying she had set it down on the floor on the aisle and added she "lost it" while on the plane.
Freeman requested a public defender and it was unclear whether one had been appointed. Her children have been placed in protective custody and a relative from San Francisco is heading to Denver to take the children home, officials said.
A hometown for Freeman was not immediately available. Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined comment.
If convicted, Freeman could face up to $350,000 in fines and several years in prison.
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