"I felt so weak knowing that my baby is so helpless and couldn't defend herself, nor tell me what even happened," the mother says

By Robyn Merrett
November 15, 2019 11:50 PM
Credit: Anari Ormond

A New Jersey mother has been left “heartbroken” and “defeated” after she found her 6-month-old baby daughter covered in bruises and scratches at daycare earlier this week.

At around 12:22 p.m. on Tuesday, Anari Ormond, 23, got a text no parent wants to receive.

The message was from the owner of J&A Nursery in Newark, asking Ormond to give the center a call on her lunch break.

Ormond’s little girl Zuri Camara had been a student at the daycare since October.

Ormond tells PEOPLE that she called the nursery immediately and was told that Zuri had been left “unattended around a 2-year-old boy.”

“She said in that time period of being unattended the boy ‘bit Zuri 3 times in the stomach,'” Ormond says.

After hanging up the phone, Ormond, a preschool teacher and recent Howard University graduate, says she rushed to the daycare — which was just a 17-minute drive away.

“When I arrived I was stopped at the door and basically braced for whatever I was getting ready to see,” Ormond says.

| Credit: Anari Ormond
| Credit: Anari Ormond

That’s when she says the owner told her the news — and Ormond learned there was more to the story.

The owner of the nursery did not respond to numerous requests from PEOPLE for comment.

“[The owner] began a story saying she went upstairs to get Neosporin and fell down the steps while holding my daughter and she was severely bruised,” Ormond explains.

At this point, Ormond has not yet seen her daughter, so she rushed past the daycare owner to find her child’s entire face “red, bruised, swollen and scratched.”

Ormond says Zuri also had scratches “on her right foot and hand.”

“I was shocked and heartbroken,” Ormond tells PEOPLE. “She was just sitting there. She wasn’t laughing or smiling,” Osmond says of her baby.

| Credit: Anari Ormond
| Credit: Anari Ormond

Ormond promptly left the center and took Zuri to St. Barnabas Hospital.

“We went straight to the hospital. They did a CT scan of her head immediately just to make sure there was no head trauma. There was no internal bleeding,” Ormond explains adding that the doctor ruled it as “mild concussion” and sent her home with antibiotics.

“On the X-ray, nothing showed up and they did an X-ray of her leg, but couldn’t see any fractures but that may have been because her bones are so tiny,” Ormond says the doctor told her.

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After leaving the hospital, Ormond headed to the police station. She explains she took photos of Zuri’s injuries, which show marks on her face, legs and what appears to be bite marks on her stomach.

Ormond says the case is currently being investigated by Newark Police Department’s Prosecutor’s Office, Special Victims Unit and Child Protective Services.

The Newark Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families has since released a statement.

Anari Ormond and her daughter Zuri
| Credit: Anari Ormond

“Our records do not show an operating license or registration for J&A Nursery in Newark. Please note that Family Child Care Homes are permitted to operate in New Jersey, without a license, if they are caring for five or fewer unrelated children. However, if programs wish to receive federal subsidies they’re required to voluntarily register with DCF and comply with applicable regulations. Providing care for more than five unrelated children requires a childcare center license, and operating without such a license may subject the operator to prosecution,” the statement, which was obtained by ABC7NY reads.

More than anything, Ormond wants the center to be shut down so that no parent has to experience what she’s gone through.

“I literally can’t sleep or eat and probably won’t until my daughter receives justice,” Ormond wrote on social media.

“I felt so weak knowing that my baby is so helpless and couldn’t defend herself nor tell me what even happened. I’ve been feeling so defeated,” Ormond adds to PEOPLE. “I thought I was doing the best thing for her.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to http://www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.