Two day care workers arrested, charged with abuse - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Two day care workers arrested, charged with abuse

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Two day care center workers have been arrested after a 4-month-old boy was found in a darkened room at the center with a pacifier taped into his mouth.

Angela Day Gentry and Kim Ball taken into custody on Friday and charged with child abuse by the Jefferson City Police Department.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services responded Tuesday to an anonymous complaint that a caregiver at Noah's Ark Nursery and Preschool in Jefferson City was taping babies' mouths shut.

Upon arrival, an investigator heard muffled whining from the bathroom and found the boy's mouth covered with two pieces of two-inch-wide clear packing tape over a pacifier, department spokeswoman Michelle Mowery Johnson said.

The center was served with a suspension order from DHS and was closed Wednesday pending an investigation. "It's absolutely unbelievable that this would happen," Johnson said.

"They have no respect or concern for life. The child could have died." According to the suspension order, caretaker Angela Day Gentry told police the taping incident had occurred before, and that placing the tape on the child was a "mutual" idea between herself and Kim Ball, the other caretaker in the room.

Gentry told police Ball actually placed the tape on the child, according to the report. The facility received a three-star rating, the highest possible, by the DHS in its latest evaluation.

In March 2005, it was investigated by DHS after a child it was caring for died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The department found no wrongdoing or foul play, and no licensing action was taken. The Jefferson City facility is about 30 miles northeast of Knoxville.

It cares for 24 children between 6 weeks old and 5 years old.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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