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Daycare owner: ‘I was holding my own’ in fight with drunk father trying to take kids

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana daycare owner who was severely beaten after refusing to hand over three children to their drunken father says she’s proud of how she and her staff handled last week’s confrontation.

Martha McClure says she was holding her own in a physical fight with Francis Joseph Jackson until his girlfriend hit her in the face with a snow shovel.

Officials said Francis Joseph Jackson, 31, showed up at McClure’s daycare facility with an unidentified woman last week.

McClure was aware Jackson’s parental rights had been suspended and that he was not allowed contact with the children. She told authorities she could smell alcohol on Jackson.

She says Jackson hit her at least once, breaking the orbital bone in her left eye. They fled without the children.

Jackson was arrested in Washington state and was being transferred to Montana on Thursday. Efforts to find out if he has an attorney were unsuccessful.

A warrant has been issued for the girlfriend’s arrest.

McClure had surgery on an eye on Monday “and has a long road of healing ahead of her,” according to the gofundme page.