STEWART COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Caretakers at a Tennessee day care have been accused of giving children melatonin to go to sleep without their parents’ consent.
The allegations were revealed Thursday morning against four workers, who have been arrested and charged.
Stewart County Sheriff Frankie Gray said a complaint was filed against MiMi’s Child Care on March 25. Investigators interviewed parents who said their children were reported to be lethargic or having health-related issues after staying at the day care.
Melatonin is commonly used as a sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness.
Detective Dana Saltkill and Detective Lee Miller both called the alleged incident “very shocking.”
They believe caretakers have been giving children, including infants, melatonin at this day care for about three years.
“You know day care, you’d think taking their child there would be somewhat safe,” Saltkill said. “After finding this out, you kind of look back at it and say, ‘Hmm, there’s a lot of red flags that parents didn’t pick up on. As soon as we started investigating, we knew what to look for, so we got into it.”
Miller said he and Saltkill believe about 27 children were given melatonin since the day care opened, but they think the number could be higher.
A search warrant was executed on April 28 at the day care. On May 5, Jaime Clark, 45; Kristin Clark, 22; Jordan Darnell, 22, and Ethan Pulley, 21, were taken into custody and charged.
Jamie Clark, Kristin Clark and Darnell are charged with child abuse/neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, tampering with evidence and criminal violations. Pulley was charged with fabricating/tampering with evidence.
The day care surrendered its license on May 2 and is now closed, according to the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
The investigation is ongoing.
Investigators ask anyone with a child at that day care, or anyone who has more information on the case, to contact the Stewart’s County Sheriff’s Office.