Police couldn’t see the kids but they sure could hear them.
Colorado cops responding to a Wednesday call regarding an allegedly overflowing daycare center spotted no tykes in the facility, yet picked up muffled sounds of people.
After Carla Faith, the owner of the Colorado Springs-based Play Mountain Place, refused to cooperate with authorities, officials discovered a hidden wall at the daycare center, located inside her home.
On the other side of the partition were 26 children — all under the age of 3 — cooped up in a basement, reported Denver-based TV station KDVR on Friday.
The facility was licensed to handle six kids, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services.
The department immediately suspended the owner’s license during the investigation, the agency said in a statement.
“I am completely betrayed,” parent Jeanete Conde told TV station KCNC. “Every parent I have talked to about this, we all feel completely betrayed. It’s so hard to trust your children with people and we felt like we could really trust them.”
Three Play Mountain Place employees initially had been arrested for misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect, but charges were dropped, according to KDVR.
As of Friday, Faith, 58, has not been arrested “as detective pursue appropriate charges,” according to CNN.
“I’m really hoping nothing more nefarious has been going on and that in fact, it is an overcrowding issue which is bad enough as it is,” said another parent who refused to be identified. “Miss Carla seems like such a nice person and she’s always been so accommodating and perhaps she has a hard time saying no. I don’t know. I’m just going to have to chalk it up to that.”
The Colorado Springs Police Department is leading the criminal portion of the probe while licensing matters are in the hands of the state’s Department of Human Services, reported KDVR.
The department is also reportedly investigating other licensed facilities owned by Faith.