There was a time, not so long ago, where the idea of both parents having to work and children being dropped off at a daycare center, was almost unheard of. Unfortunately, as the value of a dollar slowly decreases, and the cost of living invariably rises, it’s not uncommon for busy parents to leave their kids at daycare during the work week.
Of course, when you’re a parent, you’re putting an awful lot of trust in the caregivers working at those establishments. Peace of mind is superbly important and parents do have to put trust in people they barely know. Sometimes, to their dismay.
Love And Attention
There is an assumption when one drops one’s children off at daycare for the day: that they will be well-cared for. To a lesser extent, we want them to be happy while they’re there as well.
Those assumptions are what make this story so heartbreaking. The tale begins with a worried father who had enrolled his 6-month-old son at Becky’s Home Child Care in Mesquite, Texas. It was a local daycare center and he had known several people whose children seemed to flourish under Becky’s care. Nevertheless, he entered the arrangement with some amount of trepidation.
Those who used Becky’s daycare spoke about how well she helped the children through the transition period of going to school. They lauded her certifications, her CPR training, and her kind demeanor. Yet, despite the positive Yelp reviews of the daycare center, the man was still concerned. This was his infant son, after all.
Becky was nice enough and evidently knew her stuff when it came to child care. Also, the 60-year-old caretaker had evidently been at this for a while and he was a new perhaps overly-worried father. Even so, something seemed off about her and he wanted a little extra peace of mind.
The paranoid – though understandably concerned – father decided that only photographic evidence of his son’s well being would ease his worry. The next day, before he brought his son into daycare, he hid a small camera on the boy’s car seat. It would be one of the best decisions of his life.
Evidence of Cruelty
He picked his son up that night and brought him home. When he was sound asleep for the night, the dad plugged the camera into his computer and reviewed the footage. What he found was more awful that he could have imagined. The recording showed Becky abusing not only his son but the other children in cruel, unusual ways.
The man took the amateur footage to the police. They were similarly astonished to find daycare proprietor Becky Anderson yanking the 6-month-old out of his car seat, picking him off the ground by the bib tied around his neck, and finally feeding him an unknown substance out of the end of a plastic syringe.
The Mesquite police quickly obtained a search warrant for the daycare, which also happened to be Anderson’s home, and arrived on the scene to investigate what else she might be doing before it was too late. The police made sure to conduct the search during business hours so that they could witness firsthand what was going on there.
The first thing the police found when they arrived were several trapped children. Three of them were stuck in their car seats and closed-off in a dark closet in the master bedroom, another was in that same bedroom, locked inside and unable to leave of their own accord. The kids had allegedly been trapped in the seats since the moment they arrived seven hours earlier.
The 6-month-old son of the worried father was not the only child who Anderson had mishandled. She may have yanked him up by the bib around his neck, but she also tied laces around the necks of some of the other children as well. These shoelace-like ligatures prevented the children from moving too much in their car seats.
The knots and laces were so tight around some of the children that the police officers had to struggle to remove them, ultimately opting to carefully cut them out rather than waste time. Police had to cut off several of the laces restricting the children and their movement. Once they had rescued all the kids, they brought Anderson in for questioning.
The 60-year-old woman and former daycare owner admitted that the unknown substance she had been feeding the baby through a syringe was an over-the-counter medicine. Based on how drowsy the children seemed, that, at least, sounded like the truth.
Becky Anderson isn’t the first devious daycare worker to drug the child in her care. Not long ago, three caregivers at Kiddie Junction in Des Plaines, Illinois were arrested for doing almost the same exact thing. In that case, three girls were brought in for drugging their cranky kids with over-the-counter medicinal gummies.
The three daycare workers, believing that there would be no long-term after effects, gave young children melatonin gummies. For those who don’t know, melatonin is a sleep-hormone supplement typically used to help induce sleep in insomniacs.
In her police interview, Anderson admitted that she had given the Tylenol to all of the children, not just the little ones. She had essentially shirked her responsibilities entirely and put all of the children in real danger as a result. The questions to answer now were: To how many children and for how long had she been doing this?
It’s true that Anderson’s initial Yelp reviews were fairly glowing. The daycare was even licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Anderson originally registered the daycare at 4307 Tamarix Court in July 1989 and had been in business for nearly 30 years without incident.
People liked Becky Anderson, she was personable and good at her job. The children in her care came home at the end of their parents’ workday seemingly safe and happy. Even the original complainant noticed no changes in his son’s health or demeanor, he’d just had a bad feeling. So what changed? When did Anderson go from caregiver to abuser?
It may take some time to suss out the answers to those questions, and the investigation into Anderson’s abuses is ongoing. Mesquite police have said that they are probing into all the allegations and that the probe “is a collaborative effort between multiple agencies and care providers”.
As of this writing, Rebecca Anderson has been charged with nine counts of endangering a child. She is currently in the Dallas County Jail on a $45,000 bond awaiting trial. As more evidence is uncovered, perhaps we will gain some insight into what precisely makes a woman like her stray so far from who she allegedly used to be.
Meanwhile, parents everywhere are likely to consider their child care options a bit more carefully for the next few years. Most of us would like to believe that such a thing could never happen in our lives, that our children are safe. But you never really know who you can trust these days, can you?