The Kentucky parents who have drawn criticism for running a marathon with their six-year-old son said that child protective services have since made an unannounced visit to their home to interview their children.
Ben and Kami Crawford shared a photo of their youngest child, Rainier, purportedly being interviewed by a staffer from the state’s CPS department after an Instagram post detailing the boy’s at time arduous journey in completing the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati earlier this month.
“Yesterday Child Protective Services (CPS) arrived at our home unannounced and interviewed our children, parents & grandmother,” the family’s statement on Instagram read. “This is a scary process because usually children are interrogated away from parents, against their will, and their answers determine the agency’s legal right to take away the kids.”
Campbell county district attorney Steve Franzen confirmed to ABC’s Good Morning America that Kentucky’s CPS visited the Crawford family, but said no ruling had been made yet in the investigation.
The Crawfords, who run a website and YouTube channel, made headlines last week after sharing that Rainier ran the Flying Pig Marathon on 1 May, saying that “he was struggling physically and wanted to take a break and sit every three minutes” at mile 20.
In an Instagram post on 3 May, the Crawfords said Rainier “was crying and we were moving slow” so he was promised two sleeves of Pringles if he kept going. “I had to promise him another sleeve to get him in the family pic at the finish line. Today I paid him off,” reads the Instagram post, showing Rainier holding the chips.
According to the Crawfords, their five older children finished the race an hour ahead of them, while the parents and Rainier all crossed together at eight hours and 35 minutes. They have stood by their decision to run the marathon with their youngest son despite the vocal backlash from “an elite group of runners that are using their large platforms to police running for everyone, citing outdated research, and inbred rhetoric to stop others from enjoying it”.
“The real stuff that we got accused of was dragging Rainier, like physically dragging him on the marathon course after mile 13 and across the finish line,” Ben Crawford said in a video posted on Saturday, defending the family against allegations of child abuse.
“If you guys have seen our finish line picture, we all held hands for like the last probably, like, 0.2, 0.3 miles,” he added. “We talked about it ahead of time, like that’s what we’re going to do.”
Crawford stated his son “had the option” to run and “begged” them to do so.
“I don’t know if I should be angry,” he said. “I like to believe that people are doing the best that they can. They’re not trying to ruin our life or, you know, they probably are legit afraid for our kids. But also, it’s like, where’s the line?”
Iris Simpson Bush, the executive director of the Flying Pig Marathon, took “full responsibility” for the decision to allow Rainier to run and called it “not the best course of action” in a statement issued last week.