Warning: The following article contains images that some may find disturbing.
When a couple has a baby and both parents work, they soon face the difficult question of childcare. Whom will they trust to take care of their baby? Desiree LaBlanc of Des Moines trusted the recommendation of a family friend, who pointed her to one Christina Williamson, a 28-year-old running a daycare out of her home.
But this proved to be a big mistake.
As it happened, Desiree herself was at that time a child protective investigator, working for the city’s Department of Human Services, and was trained to spot abuse. She felt sure that she would notice if anything was wrong.
At the beginning, everything seemed perfectly fine. Christina appeared competent and attentive and the nursery was always clean and safe-looking. Desiree would get photo updates and she’d be notified if her daughter had even the smallest incident. It was reassuring.
Then one day, Desiree’s supervisor called her and told her to go pick up her daughter immediately, without saying anything to Christina. She took her word for it, not yet knowing what the problem was.
Soon the truth emerged. Christina’s (now ex-) husband had placed hidden cameras in the nursery after an older child had said suspicious things. Once he saw the tapes, he went straight to the police. The images speak for themselves, though be warned: it can be very upsetting to watch someone being so cruel to small children…
Desiree could hardly believe it. This woman, who’d seemed caring and careful, threw the kids, shouted, and left them in the house alone. The physical abuse went on and on. She would even put a rag in their mouths to stop them from crying. The daycare worker ended up pleading guilty to mistreating two children, while excusing herself by claiming to have mental health problems. She still got a five-year jail sentence.
Fortunately none of the children appeared to have sustained lasting injuries or harm.
Looking for a new childcare provider, Desiree decided only to leave her daughter somewhere with multiple adults. It’s a difficult choice and can be tough to find the right place, but our children are always worth the effort!