Oregon Babysitter Accused of Leaving 7 Infants and Young Kids Alone to Go Tanning
An Oregon babysitter is accused of leaving at least seven children alone — from ages 6 months to 4 years old — while she went to the gym and tanning salon
An Oregon babysitter is accused of leaving at least seven children alone — from ages 6 months to 4 years old — while she went to the gym and tanning salon, PEOPLE confirms.
A Deschutes County Grand Jury in Oregon indicted 31-year-old January Neatherlin on Wednesday on 76 counts of criminal mistreatment in the first degree and 38 counts of recklessly endangering another person.
“Nothing is more precious than the safety and security of our children,” Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said in a statement. “If the allegations against Ms. Neatherlin are proven in court I will seek the maximum penalty authorized by law.”
Her bail was set at $200,000 and she remains in the Deschutes County Jail. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.
She has not entered a plea to her charges and will next appear in court on April 13.
According to her indictment, which was obtained by PEOPLE, Neatherlin allegedly left children unattended on eight occasions between March 3 and March 15 inside her home in Bend, Oregon, where she operated an unlicensed childcare business called Little Giggles Daycare services.
Police began investigating Neatherlin after they received an anonymous tip on March 15 that she was allegedly leaving young kids home alone. A subsequent surveillance team watched Neatherlin drive off from her house two hours after parents dropped off their kids. Officials followed her to a local tanning salon.
“We confirmed she didn’t have any children with her at that point,” Bend Police Department Lt. Clint Burleigh tells PEOPLE.
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Lt. Burleigh says there was another surveillance team parked outside Neatherlin’s house.
“We still had a team on the house — and based on the tip and her leaving, we knocked on the house and entered the house to make sure the kids were okay,” he says. “We did find seven children within the residence.”
The case is still open, and Burleigh says that since her March 15 arrest more people have come forward.
“We are getting information every day,” he says. “It is a continuing investigation. They have been receiving numerous calls from the community.”
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State child welfare advocates have also reportedly looked into Neatherlin’s business practices: In 2014, after a tip, the Oregon Office of Child Care stopped by her home and found that she was taking care of more children than allowed without certification, which is three or less, according to the Bend Bulletin.
She was looked at again for a similar allegation the following year, but she had three or fewer children at the daycare, the paper reports.