MO Daycare Worker Charged With Abuse Of Toddler

.jpg photo of daycare worker charged with child abuse
Natalie Rhyneer was arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse.

Rolla, MO daycare employee arrested,
charged with Child Abuse

ROLLA, MO  –  A Rolla daycare employee has been arrested and charged after allegedly abusing a child at the Immanuel Lutheran School.

According to court documents, a detective with the Rolla Police Department was assigned to follow up on an allegation of child abuse on January 14th.

When the detective got to the school, he was met by a mother of a two-year-old boy. That mother told the officer her son had injuries when she picked him up on January 9th that he did not have when she had dropped him off.

The detective watched several days of surveillance video from the classroom where Natalie Rhyneer was supervising that boy.

According to court documents, officers say Rhyneer is seen twisting and flicking the boy’s ear in one of the videos.

In a different video, police say Rhyneer picked the boy up and rocked him while he was crying.

Court documents say in that video, Rhyneer can be heard saying “stop hurting me” to the child.  The boy cries but those cries are muffled as Rhyneer holds his face against her chest.  Police say the boy begins to struggle and pull away.  He lies on the floor, and police say Rhyneer covers his mouth.

While the two-year-old was lying on his stomach on the floor, police say Rhyneer is seen laying on top of him saying “stop it.”

Court documents say Rhyneer then places her hand on the back of his head, pulls a pillow to his face, and muffles his cries.

Police say the boy kicks and stiffens his legs and stops crying.  After a few seconds, police believe the boy regains consciousness and starts crying again.

Court documents say police took the video to a child abuse physician who said the video and images showed actions and injury consistent with suffocation.

Rhyneer was charged with two counts of child abuse and was arrested Thursday morning.  She posted a $50,000 bond.  There is a hearing set for April 2nd.

A Reporter with one person with the church who did not want to be identified.  That source said the congregation of the Immanuel Lutheran Church voted to shut the school down completely shortly after these allegations surfaced in January.

The closure of the school is something the congregation had thought about in previous years because of declining enrollment, according to that source.

The church did not have any official statement on the arrest.