Parents in Oregon thought that Little Giggles Daycare was a safe and responsible choice for their children. However, after cops received an odd tip about the daycare’s naptime ritual, both law enforcement and parents were sick to learn what the caregiver was doing to the kids.
When parents entrusted January Neatherlin, the owner and sole caregiver at Little Giggles Day Care Center, to watch their children, they never could have anticipated what would happen during their stay. However, there was one red flag that went up that they chose to ignore — Neatherlin told them they could never pick up their children between the three-hour “naptime” of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Neatherlin’s scheme only began to unravel when police were given a tip from her former roommate and an ex-boyfriend. Cops immediately took action and set up surveillance outside of the daycare, and they were sickened to learn that Neatherlin left the establishment while the children, who she was supposedly caring for, were still inside. Unfortunately, they would soon realize that wasn’t even the worst part.
Instead of doing her job and caring for these children, the daycare owner decided that during those hours, she could get some stuff done for herself. Not only would she leave the children alone in the home, but she was doing it so she could go to CrossFit and tanning. When police were able to enter the home to see where the children were, they were sickened to learn what Neatherlin had done to them. She was drugging them to keep them asleep.
“To avoid the risk that the seven infants and toddlers in her care would wake up, trudge around and possibly hurt themselves while she ran errands, Neatherlin drugged them with melatonin,” the Chicago Tribune reports. Sadly, when police entered the home to make their arrest, some children were still under the effects of the melatonin and one was even covered in vomit.
Neatherlin was promptly arrested and pled guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault. She has most recently been sentenced to more than 21 years in prison, although the parents involved said that “100 years would not be enough.”
Unfortunately, a drug-induced nap wasn’t all these innocent youngsters faced in Neatherlin’s care. Some of these children suffered serious consequences as a result of her overall neglect. Although some of the children merely suffered from disrupted sleep cycles from the melatonin, others fared far worse.
In fact, one 11-month-old little girl was rushed to the hospital with bleeding and swelling in her head, which was consistent with being shaken or struck repeatedly. Another child was picked up with blisters in her mouth and on her shoulders as a result of an overheated bottle of milk scalding the innocent child. Neatherlin excused those injuries as “spider bites.” Other causes of concern were diaper rashes, allegations of scratching, and evidence of poor nutrition. Thankfully, she was busted before any of the children under her care could be permanently harmed.
“I loved all my daycare kids as my own, and I believe they loved me and enjoyed hanging out with me during the week,” Neatherlin said, according to Daily Mail. “I failed you all. I let you all down.”
However, the judge showed little to no sympathy, not buying January Neatherlin’s alleged remorse. “There is something broken and something missing in you,” Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby told Neatherlin. “It is sheer serendipity and chance that some of those kids were not killed.”
What this woman did to these children is horrifying, and she’s lucky that nothing worse happened to them under her care. Caring for children is hard work, and if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort, don’t do it. She deserves everything she got, and then some.
This should be a lesson to parents who have to leave their children with daycare providers while they work. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t hesitate to report it and walk away. Your child’s life might depend on it.