HAVELOCK, North Carolina — A North Carolina mother says she found her son and seven other children locked inside a childcare center — with no employees in sight. Police say the daycare center’s owner lied to officers. She has been charged with child abuse.
Jessica Lewis has cell phone video she says was recorded on Friday afternoon, December 11th at the “Prince and Princess Play Date” on US 70 in Havelock, North Carolina.
She calls what happened a nightmare come true.
After getting off work early, Lewis says she arrived at the facility to find the doors locked, and the employee gone.
She then called police.
“When my son got to the window I said ‘where’s your teacher?’ He said she wasn’t there. She had left to pick up the other kids,” Lewis said.
Police arrived 15 minutes later.
The daycare center’s owner, 28-year-old Danika Edwards arrived shortly thereafter.
Lewis says Edwards offered her and police this explanation:
“She said she had an employee there, and that employee sent her a text message saying she had to leave because her mom was having a heart attack,” Lewis said.
Police say that was a lie — a fabricated story.
Police say Edwards intentionally left eight children, ages 11 months to seven years — alone. She’s been charged with eight counts of misdemeanor child abuse.
Brittany Walker, an employee at the daycare center, is defending her boss.
“The owner of this facility is amazing. She’s been doing this for years,” Walker said.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services officials say the “Prince and Princess Play Date” is not a licensed facility.
Lewis says she’s learned a lesson.
“Now on the number one list, question number one — Do you have a license?” Lewis said.