Listen Up Parents! This Daycare Story is A Real-Life NightmareBy Yuri S.
Daycare providers are supposed to be a substitute for parents and offer the same measure of love, care and affection for a child, just as the parents would to their precious little darlings. Of course, nothing and no one can substitute a mother, but a daycare provider comes close, provided you have chosen right. Otherwise, things can go horribly wrong, as this story shows.
This is the story of January Neatherlin’s daycare in Oregon. It illustrates the negligence and utter disregard for even the common norms of decency that prevail in some daycare centers, such as her Little Giggles Daycare in Bend, Oregon.
A Daycare Center Trusted by Many Parents
January Neatherlin ran Little Giggles Daycare in her home, offering her services to other parents, in addition to caring for her own children. Parents trusted her because she had kids of her own and because other parents had entrusted their children to her care. She seemed trustworthy, reliable and reputable. Appearances can be deceptive.
When parents visited her place, it seemed cheerful and full of active children having the time of their lives. However, there was more to it than meets the eye. A little digging beneath the surface uncovered a lot of dirt. So, who pulled the rug from under Neatherlin’s feet and exposed her shenanigans?
Ex-Boyfriend Exposes January’s Misdeeds
The matter came to light when one of Neatherlin’s ex-boyfriends complained to the police, exposing the seedy underbelly of her daycare operations. At first sight, the police assumed that a disgruntled boyfriend was looking to even the score.
Still, the police thought it wise to set up surveillance at Little Giggles to verify the boyfriend’s allegations. It was their duty, and they had to do it, figuring nothing much would come out of it. What did come to light stunned them.
She Disappears, Leaving Children Unattended
The first sign that something was amiss came when the officers noticed that Neatherlin had left her home, leaving the children alone and unattended. This would become a recurring problem.
The officers watched in amazement as Neatherlin bundled her children into her car, drove them to school, and returned, with hardly a thought about the children she had abandoned, left to their devices, uncared for and unguarded. The second time was when the policemen saw her take a trip to the tanning salon while the children in her care remained alone.
Police Swing into Action
That galvanized them into action. They rushed into the open house. They found seven children between the ages of 6 months and four years in the second-floor bedroom. They stared at the scene before them. The children appeared dazed.
One child, about a year old, appeared to be lying in his own vomit. The policemen on duty rushed to his aid, wondering if the child was choking on his bile. This neglect persuaded them to take action against Neatherlin.
Police Arrest January Neatherlin
A warrant was made out, and the police arrested January on March 15th, 2017. They then informed the parents of the children in Neatherlin’s care. The police decided that the case merited further investigation.
The police then questioned Neatherlin and the parents. They found that January would usually tell the parents not to drop off children or pick them up between 11 AM and 2 PM because, she said, the children would be napping.
A Regular at the Tanning Salon and Gym
It turns out that Neatherlin was obsessed with her looks and would go to the tanning salon and also to the local CrossFit Gym, leaving the children drugged, drowsy and unattended.
Checks at the gym and the salon showed that January left the young children all alone at least eight times. The question that puzzled the police was why did those seven kids appear to be so drowsy when they should have been quite active?
She Would Drug the Kids Using Melatonin Supplements
Further checks uncovered the fact that Neatherlin used to make it a practice to drug the kids in her care. She would sedate the infants and toddlers using melatonin supplements. The parents, understandably, were livid with rage when they came to know this.
One enraged parent said that Neatherlin would give the kids in her care sleeping drugs or sedatives while she drove off and left them alone. Now that things became clear, it was obvious that Neatherlin was looking at prison time.
She Falsely Claimed She Was a Registered Nurse
Digging deeper uncovered more sordid facts about Neatherlin and her Little Giggles daycare operation. She had lied to the parents, claiming she was a registered nurse while she possessed no such qualifications. The problems with Little Giggles went as far back as 2013.
Parents had found their kids with diaper rashes and scratches. In 2014, one 11-month-old baby who was left in Neatherlin’s care had to be rushed to the hospital, where it was found that she had bleeding and swelling in her brain. Neatherlin claimed that the baby had fallen over from a seated position. However, the doctors examining the child stated that the baby was hit or shaken.
Little Girl Scalded with Hot Milk
Things were to get much worse as investigations proceeded. Audrey Torrance picked up her child from Neatherlin’s care one day and found her little girl had burn blisters around her mouth and shoulders. Neatherlin claimed that this was due to spider bites.
Neatherlin fed scalding hot milk to the baby, and, to add insult to injury, she did not feel the slightest bit of remorse even when confronted by her parents, who had similar complaints of neglect and abuse.
With 122 Charges of First-Degree Criminal Mischief
The authorities finally laid charges, framing Neatherlin with 122 charges of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree mistreatment, and reckless endangerment of lives. Neatherlin ended up plea bargaining for all these offenses.
Parents and relatives were quick to grab the opportunity to speak out in court where Neatherlin was appearing for her trial. They had plenty to say, none of it complimentary.
Parents Poured Out Their Hearts in Court
Les Adams, the grandfather of one of the kids in Neatherlin’s care, said that he did not know what was wrong with the defendant and what could have made her treat helpless and innocent kids the way she did.
Neatherlin apologized to the parents, but it was a case of too little, too late. She said that she had let them down but that she loved the kids and cared for them as her own. Well…well.
21 Years And 4 Months in Prison
Prosecutors wanted Neatherlin to get a jail term of 35 years for all her compounded acts of neglect. However, the Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby sentenced her to 21 years and four months in prison for her crimes.
While pronouncing the sentence, the Judge told Neatherlin that there was something missing and broken in her and that she would have ample time in jail to reflect and to make herself whole. The judge was quite aware of the importance of supervising kids, just as any parent would know. Take the case of Heather Fricke.
The Story of Heather Fricke and Her 10 Weeks Old Baby
Heather is the mother of two children and was preparing for a busy holiday season. Her younger son Jacob was ten weeks old at the time when this incident took place.
It happened one night when the family was preparing to attend a holiday party with friends and family. Jacob happened to wake up from a two-hour nap. Heather fed him and changed his diaper. Jacob looked just fine. Except that…
Jacob’s Father Notices Something Is Amiss with Jacob
Heather, her duty done, handed over Jacob to his father Tommy and went off to get ready while Tommy dressed Jacob. While thinking of which socks to choose for Jacob, Tommy noticed something unusual. His heart skipped a beat, and he bent down to take a closer look.
Heather too came rushing into the room when Tommy shouted. They looked at the baby’s toes. What they saw confounded them to no end. There was puzzlement and questions, but they had to act first.
Baby’s Toes Appear to Be Tied with Thin String
Jacob’s two cute toes were tied tight with what appeared to be a thin string. Heather tried to remove the string from her baby’s toes. She used a pair of tweezers to remove the thin string and held it up to the light.
She realized what was binding her baby’s toes so tight and experienced a sinking feeling because it was partly her fault. What appeared as a thin string tying up her baby’s toes tightly was, in fact, nothing but a strand of her own brown hair.
Mother’s Hair Ties Baby’s Toes
It was obvious that while Jacob was napping, the hair had got tied around his toes. It was an accident, but the toes, swollen and discolored, needed immediate medical attention.
Tommy and Heather bundled Jacob into their car and drove to the nearest emergency room. They were understandably anxious since the toes had not changed; they were still swollen purple. A doctor on duty checked Jacob while the anxious parents looked on.
An Hour to Remove the Hair Tourniquet
The doctor found that what had happened was that the strand of hair had turned into a tourniquet. This hair tourniquet is dangerous for infants and toddlers. The doctors got down to work.
It took five doctors working together an hour to remove the remaining hair tourniquet from Jacob’s toes. The doctors did praise Heather for her timely action in removing part of the hair and for bringing in her kid promptly. It could have been much worse.
Jacob Could Have Lost His Toes, but Timely Intervention Saved Them
The doctors were of the opinion that if the timely intervention had not happened, then there was every possibility that Jacob would have lost his toes. Not surprisingly, Heather and Tommy were shaken to the core and thanked the doctors for saving Jacob.
The happy and grateful parents brought Jacob home. Jacob would go on to recover in a few days, and his toes returned to normal. However, Heather now had a mission on her mind.
Heather Takes to the Internet and social media to Inform Parents
Heather now dedicated time to posting her experiences on the internet. Her purpose was to inform and educate other parents to be aware and be mindful of what could happen to infants if they are not closely watched over all the time.
Heather took special pains to post pictures of her son and his toes along with a warning message to all parents. It was not only this specific condition that she mentioned but also other things about which parents should be aware, especially for parents with boys.
Hair Strands Can Be Damaging; Heather Tells Parents
Heather made it a point to focus on infant boys in one of her posts. Strands of hair can even get into private parts such as the penis of infant boys. It is a hazard, and mothers do need to be careful about their hair when handling their children.
It is no surprise that Heather’s posts and warnings soon went viral on social media with almost a million shares. Her posts elicited responses from parents about similar experiences of their own and how they coped.
Another Mom Copes with Same Problem
One mom, in particular, recounted a similar experience with her infant daughter. She said that her daughter had wrapped her hair around her finger during sleep. It was good that the mom checked and found out that the finger was turning blue.
Needless to say, the mother quickly removed the offending strand of hair, rubbed the finger and restored circulation. Thanks to Heather and her post, a serious situation was averted. Yet another mother had a similar story to tell.
Anastasia Gencarelli and Her Terrifying Ordeal with Her Baby Daughter
Anastasia Gancarelli’s baby had to be hospitalized due to an innocuous reason. Matters progressed to that stage after months of misdiagnosis and wrong treatment. This is the story of Anastasia Gancarelli and Mia, her daughter.
Mia was energetic and active but suddenly became lethargic. Anastacia used to love to photograph her baby with her bright smile and rosy cheeks, but the situation changed for the worse as Mia became lethargic and did not respond to food or care.
Mia Develops New Symptoms
Lethargy gave way to Mia tugging at her ears as if she was in pain. Anastacia took her daughter to a pediatrician who prescribed antibiotics after diagnosis. Anastacia hoped all would be well soon.
The pediatrician concluded that Mia had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics. Anastacia started Mia on the antibiotic’s regimen hoping for a quick recovery, but it was not to be. Mia’s condition worsened despite treatment, causing more anxiety to her distraught mother.
Mia’s Condition Worsens
The prescribed antibiotics did not seem to be working. Mia had low energy levels and pulled on her ears more than she used to do before, and she also refused to eat or drink. She became pale and irritable. She lost weight. The pediatrician prescribed more antibiotics.
Even that did not work. Mia’s condition deteriorated. Anastacia was at the end of her tether, not knowing what to do or who to approach for help. Mia then developed more worrying symptoms.
Mia Eats Chalk and Baby Wipes – Ends up in Emergency Room
Anastacia became frantic with worry and fear when Mia started eating things like baby wipes and chalk. At this point, the mother’s instinct took over, and Anastacia decided to take Mia to an emergency room.
The staff at the emergency room took one look at Mia and rushed her into the treatment room. Pretty soon, she was covered in tubes with doctors surrounding her, showing their concern for her condition. It was obvious that the baby’s condition was serious.
No, It’s Something Far More Serious
One thing the doctors decided after a preliminary diagnosis was that it certainly was not an ear infection. In order to know what was wrong, the doctors decided to take blood and conduct tests, but that proved to be easier said than done.
It took several attempts before doctors could successfully take a sample of Mia’s blood. They also tried to attach an IV to an artery in her thigh. That, too, was not an easy task, proving to be even more challenging than drawing blood samples.
Doctors Attach IV to Mia’s Thigh
If the doctors were not successful in attaching an IV to Mia’s thigh, it would come down to drilling into her leg up to her shin bone and inserting the IV into her bone marrow. However, the doctors succeeded, and the IV was inserted. Meanwhile, they waited for the blood analysis report.
It was an anxious night for Anastacia. She wondered as to what she could have done wrong. She asked herself as to whether Anastasia had swallowed something poisonous or not. These and other questions kept bothering her throughout the sleepless night.
Test Reports Prove Baffling, Leave Doctors Clueless
The test reports arrived the next day, but the doctors were clueless. One noteworthy fact in the report was that Mia had just a quarter of the normal amount of blood. There were no wounds that would indicate blood loss. The doctors wondered as to why her blood count was so low.
The only recourse was to conduct more tests. These tests finally showed the reason for the low quantity of blood. It was not due to blood loss. It was something that parents usually feed their infants. It was something that could be life-endangering, as in the case of Mia.
Cow’s Milk Is Proved to Be the Culprit
Mothers feed cow’s milk to their infants without a second thought. It is a complete food and important for bone development. However, it can also endanger the lives of infants and children due to a key ingredient in it.
While recounting her experience on social media, Anastacia advised parents not to give too much milk to their children, just as you should not give a baby too much water. The chief ingredient in cow’s milk responsible for her baby’s pitiable condition was calcium. Calcium can do harm if ingested in large amounts.
Calcium in Cow’s Milk Can Strip the Body of Iron
Anastacia explains that the high amount of calcium in cow’s milk can strip the body of iron, leading to reduced hemoglobin. Mia loved drinking milk, and Anastacia gave her as much as she wanted, which ultimately proved to be deadly.
Cow’s milk was the chief reason for Mia’s anemia. Most parents are not even aware of this condition until it is late, and it could result in hospitalization as well as blood transfusions. All this can be avoided by being informed and aware of the dangers of foods.
Mia Gets Treatment and Relief
Once they arrived at the cause, it was easy for doctors to begin the right treatment. They gave anti-coagulants to prevent blood clots. Mia was also prescribed iron supplements to boost hemoglobin. She was well on the path to recovery, bringing much-needed relief to Anastacia.
Anastacia took to Facebook to advise parents to trust their instincts and to respond with alacrity if they noticed anything unusual in their baby’s behavior. Delay could have led to grief. Her case is a reminder to all parents that even foods we consider nutritious and wholesome for children can carry hidden dangers.
The Case of Lucinda Armstrong and Her Baby
A mother’s instinct can prove invaluable, as was shown in the case of Lucinda Armstrong and her baby. Lucinda was in a similar, traumatic situation, similar to the one Anastacia found herself in. Lucinda’s baby was showing symptoms of not being well.
Lucinda Armstrong had given birth to a bonny baby boy weighing all of nine pounds. She named him Ezra and rejoiced in caring for him with all the motherly love she could muster. Everything was fine until one fateful day in May 2014.
Ezra Starts Crying, Symptoms That Something Is Not Quite Right
Ezra started crying and just would not stop. Lucinda knew something was wrong. She had, after all, cared for her first baby, a girl and had learned to distinguish between cries of hunger and cries of illness. Ezra was showing all the signs of being ill.
Ezra’s skin color changed to bright red. On taking his temperature, Lucinda was shocked. His temperature had shot through the roof to 102.6 degrees. There was no time to waste. They bundled together into their family car and rushed to the Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Doctors Probe Ezra to Diagnose the Cause
Doctors at Mercy Hospital swung into action and conducted various tests to diagnose the illness. Lastly, they conducted a spinal tap, and that was revealing. It was as serious as it could be. It seems Ezra had made it to the hospital just in time.
The spinal tap test showed that Ezra had meningitis, a life-threatening condition. At his age, Ezra faced great odds of fighting off the brain infection since his immune system was not quite well developed.
Ezra Gets Referred To a Specialist
The doctors at Mercy Hospital knew that this case required a specialist, so they referred Lucinda to the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Kari Simonson, the pediatric doctor, checked Ezra thoroughly, confirming meningitis and even more.
She told the worried parents that Ezra had listeria meningitis. Listeria is a different kind of bacteria known to cause meningitis, according to her. Infants, she said, are more susceptible to listeria infections, but the big question still remained.
How Did Ezra Get Infected?
The big question was as to how Ezra could get infected when he was just two weeks old? Dr. Simonsen opines that the infection could be transmitted from mother to child. Lucinda was an adult and healthy, and the bacteria would not affect her, but it surely affected her baby. The next question was would the baby survive?
The doctors informed Lucinda that the odds were great but that they would do all in their power to save him. They injected antibiotics into Ezra and put him on IV in order to fight the infection and aid recovery. Ezra had a long uphill struggle ahead of him.
Ezra’s Infection Was Preventable
The two-week-old Ezra took in copious amounts of water. He was in pain and dehydrated. It was likely that if Lucinda had waited any longer, it would have been tough for Ezra to pull through.
The doctors said that if left untreated, Ezra would not have survived. The treatment of antibiotics and fluids helped Ezra to recover, and the doctors were on the job all the time to ensure he received full support. What transpires is that Ezra’s infection was fully preventable.
What Every Mother-to-be Should Know
It was clear as daylight that the listeria bacteria were transmitted from Lucinda to Ezra during the delivery process. It happened due to a simple reason, and this reason is something that all mothers-to-be should know.
Most expecting mothers follow common protocols such as drinking sufficient water, wearing the right clothes, nutrition, no smoking and no drinking and regular exercise, but there are other reasons they should know but are not aware of.
Probable Causes of Infection Could Be In the Fridge
What most mothers should know, according to Dr. Simonsen is that the cause of infection could be in the cold foods in your fridge. These are foods like meats and cheeses that can harbor the harmful bacteria responsible for life-threatening infections in newborn babies.
Lucinda was overcome with remorse and regrets. She could very well have lost Ezra simply due to oversight and ignorance. She wept to think how much Ezra suffered and how close they were to losing their darling boy. Ignorance can be deadly, as this case shows.
Do Not Delay, Take Immediate Action
The upshot of the Lucinda story is that when you see such grave symptoms as bright red rashes on your baby’s skin, do not wait till the morning or the next day. Take action right now.
Lucinda, based on her experience with Ezra, strongly advises mothers to trust their gut instinct. Do not try guesswork or home remedies. Rush to the hospital even if you think it is (and it turns out to be) a minor infection. It is better to go to the hospital and prevent a situation from deteriorating.
Ezra’s Case Is a Lesson for All Mothers
Ezra is on his way to recovery at the hospital. His condition is improving, and doctors are optimistic that even after that harrowing experience at the tender age of two weeks, Ezra will be just fine and go on to become a healthy, active toddler.
Becoming alert and aware is important for all women who consider motherhood, right from the time they plan to conceive. Even everyday foods, considered healthy and nutritious, need to be considered with care and handled with even more care to prevent bacteria transmission.
Breakfast Endangers Life of a Newborn
This is yet another story about a mom in Maryland who had a baby. The doctor also gave her the bad news about her baby. It was all preventable since what had happened was entirely due to the breakfast the new mother had eaten that day.
In a similar case, Elizabeth Eden was in labor at the Baltimore County Hospital on 4th April 2018. Even as she was suffering contractions, the doctors gave her distressing news. The news was heartrending and shocking to the new mother.
Opiates in Food – Doctors to Take Away the Baby
The doctor in attendance categorically told Elizabeth that opiates were found in her blood and that they would take her baby away. This came as a shocker since Elizabeth had never done drugs in all her life. Opiates are usually found in substances such as heroin.
Elizabeth wracked her brains for an explanation as to how she could have ingested opiates. She recalled something from her school days that confirmed her suspicions, something that could be the reason for her testing positive for opiates.
It Is Poppy Seeds in Bagels That Are Responsible!
Before going to the hospital, Elizabeth had stopped by a Tim Horton’s restaurant and had eaten what she loved best—bagels. That is nothing unusual. Lots of people eat bagels, and there is no side effect. So why should eating bagels have led to a positive opiate report?
The reason was clear. Elizabeth had ordered and eaten the bagel known as everything bagel. These bagels have a coating of poppy seeds. Plus, she had strawberry cream cheese on top of the bagel she had eaten for breakfast. Poppy seeds, even those used in culinary preparations, can contain minor amounts of opiates.
Elizabeth Asks for a Retest – Doctors Refuse
Poppy seeds used in culinary preparations are from the poppy seeds harvested from the poppy plant. Leaves and flowers of the plant contain opiates which are the base for the production of heroin, opium, and codeine, as well as morphine. The seeds have minuscule amounts of opiates and are safe for human consumption, but they can contribute to false positives in drug tests.
Knowing what was responsible for the presence of opiates, Elizabeth requested a retest but the doctor refused to listen to her explanation that the poppy seeds in the bagel she ate that morning were the cause.
Doctor Reports Elizabeth as a Potential Drug User
Worse was to follow. The doctor reported Elizabeth to the state authorities as a potential drug user. This was in accordance with established protocols, and the doctor was not entirely to blame. He took away Beatrice, the baby.
The doctors further informed a traumatized Elizabeth that for the next five days, she would be under observation, and they would check for withdrawal symptoms.
Elizabeth Is Finally Released After 5 Days of Trauma
Elizabeth experienced great stress for five days, during which the doctors kept her under observation and treated her as a guilty party. Finally, they released her, and she went to her parents. However, the story does not end there.
Now that the doctor had reported her to the state as a potential drug user, Elizabeth started to receive visits from social workers to check up on her. They wanted to see if Elizabeth was truly a drug addict despite her protests and denials.
Does The Poppy Seed Defense Work?
Social workers kept visiting Elizabeth for three weeks, running, checking on her and her family. She explained about poppy seeds in the bagel to her social worker, but that did not cut any ice. Does the poppy seed defense work?
It is worth mentioning the case of Seinfield, where Elaine failed a drug test after consuming poppy seed muffins. She retained her job based on the poppy seed defense. This defense also has a legal precedent in reality.
Pennsylvania Woman Wins Legal Battle Based On Poppy Seed Defense
In a similar case, the state took away the baby from a mother in Pennsylvania in 2013. The woman tested positive for opiates, but all she had consumed were poppy seeds. She won a $150,000 legal battle and got back her baby.
That case inspired Elizabeth to adopt the poppy seed defense with her caseworker. There were bureaucratic tangles, but finally, the official closed the case and reunited her with her baby. However, Elizabeth did not let matters rest there.
Elizabeth Follows It Up with the Hospital
Elizabeth was relieved at her success and then followed it up with a letter to the hospital outlining her research into the effects of poppy seeds on drug tests. She demanded that the hospital redefine the meaning of positive tests or warn mothers to avoid consuming poppy seeds.
Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the chief superintendent of OBGYN at the hospital, said that Elizabeth’s letter had a profound effect on her and that she had made a point. She said the hospital and its doctors typically did not educate mothers to be about the effect of poppy seeds on drug tests.
Elizabeth Goes on Facebook, Warns About Poppy Seeds
Still not content to let matters be, Elizabeth took to Facebook and posted on one all-moms Facebook page about the dangers of poppy seed bagels. Not unexpectedly, she received a stream of responses.
Among the many responses she received, the common thread was that a similar thing had happened to their friends or to them. To this, Elizabeth had but one piece of advice: avoid poppy seeds like the plague if you are ready to go into labor. It could save you a ton of grief.