Videos on Facebook show a day care worker wearing a Halloween mask and yelling at children
HAMILTON, MS – Four people linked to viral video footage of Mississippi daycare employees using a scary mask to frighten young children are facing charges of felony child abuse, and a fifth person faces two misdemeanor counts.
The daycare’s owner, Sheila Sanders, is not facing charges. She has said that at least four of the employees were fired after the video came to light.
The videos, one filmed in September and another this month, were posted on social media. They show a daycare worker at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center in Hamilton, an unincorporated community in northeast Mississippi, wearing a Halloween mask similar to the one in the “Scream” movies and yelling at children who didn’t “clean up” or “act good.”
Children can be seen bawling, cowering in fear, and at times running from the masked employee. Another employee gives directions, singling out which children have acted good or bad, The Associated Press reported. The employee in the mask is shown screaming inches away from children’s faces, the video showed.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook said in a news release that four of the women each face three counts of felony child abuse. A fifth woman, he says, faces charges of failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault against a minor — both misdemeanors.
“They can’t use corporal punishment, so we think they were using the mask to try to scare the kids into doing what they were supposed to be doing,” Crook said.
Special Education Teacher at Miami School Facing Child Abuse, Neglect Charges
MIAMI, FL – A special education teacher at a Miami elementary school is facing charges after police said she punched a student and shoved another.
Graciela Reyes-Marino, a teacher at Auburndale Elementary, was arrested Thursday on aggravated child abuse and child neglect charges, an arrest report said.
The report said earlier this month a boy in Reyes-Marino’s class had been crying and screaming when she allegedly grabbed him by the wrist and shoved him into a bathroom corridor.
She then closed the doors behind the boy, leaving him alone in a confined area for 3-4 seconds until he started screaming louder, the report said. She then opened the door and walked him to his desk.
During a separate incident, a student who was looking under his desk had been asked to stop multiple times by Reyes-Marino before she punched him on his upper back area with a closed fist, the report said.
“[Reyes-Marino] forcefully lifted [the victim] from the ground, proceeded to kick him in the leg and punch him with a closed fist on his upper back area prior to sitting him down,” the report said.
The report said Reyes-Marino denied punching the boy and said she propped the door open for the other student in the corridor.
Reyes-Marino, 60, was booked into jail and later released on bond.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials said Reyes-Marino had been employed by the district for about eight years but will be fired.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is deeply disturbed about the serious allegations made against the employee. Conduct such as the one she is accused of will not be tolerated,” the district said in a statement. “As soon as the allegations surfaced, the individual was reassigned away from the school setting pending the outcome of an investigation by the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. As a result of this week’s arrest, her employment will be terminated and she will be precluded from seeking future work with the District.”
Father of Denver boy found encased in
concrete pleads guilty to Child Abuse;
murder charge dropped
DENVER, CO – The father of a 7-year-old Denver boy found encased in concrete in 2018 has pleaded guilty to a child abuse charge in the case, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the murder charge against him.
Leland Pankey, 40, was charged with murder in Caden McWilliams’ death in May. In a hearing on Thursday, he pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a deceased human body.
The murder charge was dropped in the deal. Pankey now faces up to 72 years in prison.
“This agreement provides justice for Caden while ensuring that Mr. Pankey will serve a significant amount of time behind bars,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a news release Thursday. “This is one of the most horrific cases ever handled by the Denver DA’s Office and we were acutely concerned about re-traumatizing Caden’s family as well as the jury, judge and everyone else involved should this case proceed to trial.”
Pankey is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 28.
The body of McWilliams was found encased in concrete in a storage unit in the 5000 block of East Evans Avenue in Denver on Dec. 23, 2018.
McWilliams’ mother, Elisha Pankey, also pleaded guilty in August to one count of child abuse resulting in death.
The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner ruled in a report in March that Caden had been malnourished and had cocaine metabolite and methamphetamine in his system. The boy also had numerous injuries to his head, torso and extremities, according to the autopsy. He may have suffered from asphyxia, dehydration or hyperthermia, but that couldn’t be confirmed, the autopsy said.
In an interview with police in March, Elisha Pankey told investigators that Leland Pankey abused Caden while they were living in an extended-stay hotel, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The couple and their two children had moved into the hotel in May 2018, and Leland Pankey watched the children while Elisha Pankey went to work, she told investigators.
Elisha Pankey said Caden died in July 2018 after his father kept him in a dog kennel, the affidavit said. A woman who had been in the Arapahoe County Jail with Elisha Pankey in December said Pankey told her that she believed her son suffocated in the dog kennel.
Leland Pankey kept Caden in the kennel overnight – with blankets on top of it – and the boy cried out that he was hot and thirsty, Elisha Pankey told her fellow inmate, according to the affidavit.
On the day Caden died, his mother and father bought Quikrete, trash bags and water, drove Caden’s body to the storage unit on Evans Avenue, and mixed the concrete and poured it into the kennel, the affidavit said.
The boy’s body wasn’t discovered until December, when officers responded to a domestic violence call involving the Pankeys.
Police learned that the couple had two children, and Elisha Pankey told officers that the children were with their father. When police contacted Leland Pankey, he said one child was in daycare, but he avoided answering questions about Caden, eventually telling officers the boy was with his mother, the affidavit said.
When officers interviewed a woman whose name was redacted in the affidavit, she told police that Leland Pankey had lost his son and that Pankey said her family could have their storage “because it had too many memories,” the affidavit said.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Pankeys’ storage unit and found Caden’s remains inside.
Son of woman charged in Wake Forest
Child Abuse case: ‘We never had a
WAKE FOREST, NC – Two Wake Forest parents were charged with child abuse causing serious physical injury, arrest records show.
Records state Michael Daniel Bell and Rebecca Ann Bell, of Washhouse Lane in Wake Forest, failed to enroll at least one child in school, abused at least one child and exposed a child to domestic violence and let at least one child live in a condemned home for a week.
The home that was condemned had no electricity and no running water and had holes in the ceilings, exposed nails in the floor and mold and raw meat throughout the house, according to warrants.
According to the couple’s Facebook page, they have nine children.
Rebecca Bell’s oldest son, 21-year-old Matthew Shirely, lives in Nevada and said that Michael Bell abused him and his siblings for years.
“You know, just getting like smacked around to like actual fistfights between me and my stepdad,” he said.
Shirely said his family lived in Nevada prior to living in North Carolina, where Rebecca Bell moved to get back together with Michael.
“Growing up, none of my siblings, me included, we never had a stable home. We bounced around. Off the top of my head, I could probably give you around anywhere from 16 to 20 addresses we’ve lived at,” Shirely said.
Shirely said he feels helpless being across the country while 10 of his siblings are split up in foster care.
“You know, they’ve gone through it in the past. They went through it when I was there. I went through it when I was with them, and it hurts knowing my siblings, like I’m not there to do anything about it,” he said.
A father himself, Shirely said he doesn’t understand how his mother could watch her children suffer.
“She’s seen the fights, she’s seen abuse, she’s seen the way Mike treats the kids, and it just amazes me someone could watch their kids go through that and not want something better,” he said.
OMAHA, NE – A Macy, Nebraska, husband and wife have pleaded not guilty to locking a 10-year-old foster son in a basement storage room.
Krista Parker entered her plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha to federal and state charges of kidnapping, child abuse/neglect and false imprisonment. Charles Parker pleaded not guilty to the same charges Thursday.
Trial dates have not been set.
According to court documents, authorities on Sept. 15 were called to the Parker home about a report of a boy locked in a storage room.
Officers found the boy locked in the dark, windowless room, amid trash, a few toys and human feces. The room stunk of urine and feces, court documents said.
Krista Parker was found passed out upstairs, and a preliminary breath test showed her blood-alcohol content at 0.126 percent.
Parker confessed to locking the boy in the room a few hours earlier, court documents said, but denied confining the special-needs boy, who had been in her foster care for nine months, in the room previously.
Charles Parker told officers he was unaware that his wife had confined their son in the room that night, but he said that they occasionally locked the boy in the room for several hours and maybe for a night one time, court documents said.
The boy told a forensic interviewer that the storage room was his bedroom and that he slept on the floor because he did not have a bed.