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Berrien county mother catches son being abused on camera

ST. JOSEPH, Mich.-- A Berrien County man sits in jail after his girlfriend caught him abusing her two-year-old son on camera. 

The mother, Amber Landeauer, first bought the camera to use as a baby monitor. She says she never expected something like this to happen.

Now Landeauer says that $30 camera may have saved her son's life.  

"I wouldn't have known what he was doing to my son if I didn't have that camera," she said. 

Landeauer first saw her boyfriend, Matthew Brockway, become aggressive towards her son on her phone. She downloaded an app that lets her watch through the camera in her house. 

She said she was shocked to see that footage. 

But for a two-year-old that can't talk, it can be hard to know when abuse happens. 

Barbara Vernon is the Vice President of Programs at Child and Parent Services, or "CAPS."

Vernon said when a child is very young they can normalize abuse. 

"A parent might say 'I had no idea this was happening' and they really didn't because a child can adapt to abuse," she said.

The kind of apparent abuse in this case, however, does have an effect on a child regardless of their age. 

"Physical abuse does have an impact on brain activity and brain development," said Vernon. 

Vernon said the best thing a parent can do in this type of situation is to trust their gut feeling. 

Landeauer agreed, but said it is sometimes hard to do. 

"I trusted Matt. I had no idea that he could do something like that," she said.

Brockway pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse and domestic violence. 

He's set for a pre-exam next Wednesday at the Berrien County Courthouse. 

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