Two women have been arrested after they were accused of repeatedly abusing young children in their care at a South Dakota daycare.
Teresa Gallagher, 31, and Kenedi Wendt, 22, were arrested by police on Friday, March 30. They charged both women with 25 counts of abuse or cruelty to a minor, reported KARE 11. They were also held on a $25,000 cash bond.
Police were first notified of the abuse in late February, when a child told their mother that a daycare employee at the Little Blessings Learning Center in Sioux Falls had banged his head on a mat while he was sleeping, reported the Argus Leader.
The mother contacted the Department of Social Services (DSS) who contacted the daycare’s supervisors prompting an internal investigation. As a result, Gallagher and Wendt were fire, said police spokesman Sam Clemens.
DSS then contacted police, who in early March obtained surveillance footage from the daycare for the period of Feb. 14 and 23. The footage revealed how the pair had been systematically abusing the children during their nap time.
Police alleged that the two daycare employees were picking up the children and slamming them on the ground, stepping on them, and banging their heads around during nap time on multiple occasions. They said the victims were mostly 3 to 4-year-olds.
Clemens said it didn’t happen every single day.
He added that it was unclear about the motive for the abuse.
“The video was pretty clear, but it was tough to figure out why this took place,” Clemens told Argus Leader.
“All of it seemed to be happening really just kind of because.”
The police spokesperson said that none of the children required medical attention. However, some parents said their children had complained about headaches and back pain, and said that they did not like nap time.
It is unclear how long the pair have been working at the daycare.