Watching This Toddler Trying To Intervene As His Mom Is Attacked Will Break Your Heart (Video)

6/26/14 1:29PM EST

You’ve seen it time and time again: A mom comes to the rescue when her baby is in trouble. It’s a natural maternal instinct that moms of all species are born with, from an elephant trying to save her calf from nature’s force to a mom kissing her little one’s booboo — moms are there to save the day.

But sometimes the little ones know when it’s their turns to step up to the plate — or at least try to. In a graphic video that was posted on Facebook Tuesday night before it was taken down, a 2-year-old makes the heroic attempt to intervene when his mom is brutally beaten by a woman that police are now looking for.

The attack reportedly took place outside a McDonald’s in Salem, N.J. The video, taken by an anonymous person who happened to stumble upon the scene, shows a woman being beaten to the ground and kicked while her toddler and others watch. At some point during the attack, the victim’s toddler tries to stop the assailant by yelling and kicking her legs.

After being punched at least 20 times, kicked violently in her side and spit on, the victim, a 27-year-old woman known as “Tia,” is left on the ground with blood on her hands and face. The sight is both incredibly disturbing and saddening.

“Police in this county deal with this type of violence everyday. Yet, this video is physically sickening to watch,” Salem Chief of Police John J. Pelura III said Wednesday. “There is a moral and social breakdown in the fabric of our society which is clearly evident when a woman gets pummeled in broad daylight in front of her child while a dozen people pull out their phones to record the incident instead of calling for help. There is so little regard for human life — by the actor and the bystanders.”

Police are still looking for the suspect, identified as a 25-year-old Salem woman named Latia Harris. She is facing charges of aggravated assault and two counts of making terroristic threats, according to Pelura.

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