BEND, Ore. (WSVN) — A day care owner in Oregon will spend the next two decades in prison after she admitted to abandoning and drugging children in her care so she could go tanning and do CrossFit.
January Neatherlin, 32, was sentenced Friday to 21 years and four months behind bars after she pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault.
Fox News reports that Neatherlin was arrested last year after police found seven young children left unattended at her day care called Little Giggles.
After Bend police received tips from a former boyfriend and former roommate of Neatherlin’s, officers watched her leave the center twice while she was supposed to be with seven children.
Police said she forced the children to take melatonin so they would go to sleep.
Neatherlin had told parents they weren’t allowed to pick up or drop off their kids between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., saying it was nap time. Police checked CrossFit and Tan Republic records and found she would visit those locations during those mid-day hours, The Oregonian reported.
“She repeatedly administered a sleeping agent to a room full of infants, toddlers and children and drove off in her car to fulfill her narcissistic needs. There is no room in our society for monsters like this. January has no respect for human life,” one parent said, according to KTVZ.
One family claimed their daughter suffered a brain injury consistent with shaken baby syndrome while in Neatherlin’s care; other parents said their children’s sleep patterns were disrupted, Fox News reports.
In court, Neatherlin apologized to families of the children, saying she had failed them.
“I loved all my day care kids as my own, and I believe they loved me and enjoyed hanging out with me during the week,” she said. “But I failed you all. I let you all down.”
Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby told Neatherlin, “There is something broken and something missing in you… It is sheer serendipity and chance that some of those kids were not killed.”
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