BEND, OR — Illegal daycare owner and operator January Neatherlin, 32, has been sentenced to 21 years, 4 months in prison following a 2017 incident in which she drugged and abandoned seven children in her care to go tanning at her gym.
In March 2017, police acting on a tip discovered the children left alone at Neatherlin’s Little Giggles Day Care. Each child had been dosed with the sleep aid Melatonin. They ranged in age from six months to four years old.
Bend Police Sergeant testified that one baby at Little Giggles was covered in wet vomit, and responders feared the child was choking. He added:
“What we saw was shocking.”
Apparently, Neatherlin routinely fed the children Melatonin prior to “nap time” between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M.
After alerting parents and insuring that the children were safe, officers found Neatherlin tanning at a local gym and arrested her.Related: 3-Year-Old Girl Hospitalized After Swallowing Thumbtack At Florida Daycare
Last month, Neatherlin pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and a count of third-degree assault. The other charges of criminal mistreatment are linked to prior incidents, one of which burned a baby with scalding milk.
Another time, an 11-month-old girl had to be rushed from Little Giggles to an emergency room, where doctors discovered she had bleeding and swelling in her head — injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Judge Wells Ashby pointed out the real damage that Neatherlin inflicted on the infants, toddlers, and families involved, telling her:
“It was sheer serendipity that some of those kids were not killed.”
Ashby then sentenced Neatherlin to 31 months on each of her 12 counts.
In court, Neatherlin tearfully addressed her former clients and said:
“I loved all my daycare kids as my own, and I believe they loved me and enjoyed hanging out with me during the week. But I failed you all. I let you all down.
Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody takes responsibility for those mistakes. With that said, I hope the court and the parents accept my apology. I made a very poor call, and it has forever changed my life and even ended it.”
Neatherlin has prior felony identity-theft convictions for which she was arrested using the names “January Livsey” and “January Brooks.”
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Main photo: January Neatherlin [Deschutes County Sheriffs Office]