Mother's photo of duct-taped children goes viral; her cousin calls the incident "a joke"

MEMPHIS, Tennessee -- A photo posted by a mother to Facebook has gone viral, and it has led to outrage. The photo shows two young children with duct tape over their hands and mouths. Authorities are now investigating.

The faces of the children seen in the photo have been blurred, but the original shows tears in the eyes of the oldest child.

A woman with the screen name "Jaton Justsilly Jaibabi" posted the photo showing two children seated in a vehicle in Memphis, Tennessee.

"It's just -- that's wrong. That's wrong. Bottom line. That's no joke. It's nothing to play with. I find it offensive," a man named Wayne, who takes issue with the photo said.

The caption on the photo reads: "Kids for sale -- 45% off because they bad."

Memphis police have opened an investigation after the picture was sent to them on Thursday, March 17th.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services say they have very limited information, but are doing more research before investigating the family.

"I could not breathe. It took my breath away. Caused extreme emotional distress. These are children. These are human beings," one parent said upon seeing the photo.

Derion King, the cousin of the woman who posted the photo says it was just a practical joke.

His message reads, in part: "Basically a joke at the moment that people just went overboard about. People make mistakes and that's what this situation is, a lesson learned. They are safe, unharmed and loved. That's all it is to it."