A woman who was found drugging children in her illegally run daycare center to forcibly make them sleep so she could attend fitness classes has been given a 21 year, a 4-month prison sentence.
January Neatherline, 32, who ran the center named Little Giggles in Bend, Oregon, induced sleep in the kids under her care by feeding them melatonin, then disappearing and leaving them unattended while she went to tanning salons and CrossFit sessions.
This was done repeatedly over the course of her four years spent running the center. She also lied to parents about her status as a registered nurse, of which she had no real certification.
Police began investigating Neatherline’s center, which had already been investigated by state child welfare advocates two times since 2014, after receiving a tip from her former boyfriend about her behavior.
After watching her, they discovered seven children under the age of five left unattended while they were supposed to be under her care. Parents, who reported their children having a lot of difficulty falling asleep after being in her care, testified at Neatherline’s hearing.
Some report having children who have symptoms of the shaken baby syndrome, while another recounts having a child sent to the hospital for burns after Neatherline overheated a milk bottle.
Some marriages became so strained in the aftermath of the events that parents have divorced. Neatherline apologized to parents in court, admitting to having “inner demons” that she had been struggling to face.
As he sentenced her, the judge expressed that he thought there was an emptiness in her, and expressed hope that she would soon be whole again.