Arrest warrants issued for former Hamilton daycare workers

Four former employees face felony charges, one faces misdemeanor charges

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Arrest warrants are issued for five former workers at a Monroe County daycare where a cell phone video was taken showing workers scaring toddlers.

The investigation began after a video was posted, showing workers at Lil Blessings Child Care and Learning Center in Hamilton wearing a mask from the movie Scream, scaring children.

The daycare owner fired all employees involved and reported the incident to the Mississippi State Department of Health. Earlier this week, Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook and investigators met with some parents whose children were in the daycare at the time of the incident. Three sets of parents filed felony charges against the former employees.

“The parents we talked to in that meeting, there were some that were certain they wanted to file felony charges. And the only felony charge this could fit is was felony child abuse under subsection 1D, improper supervising of the kids that led to neglect and possible substantial trauma, mental trauma from what they were going through,” said Sheriff Crook.

21-year-old Sierra McCandless, 28-year-old Oci-Anna Kilburn, 25-year-old Jennifer Newman, and 28-year-old Sheyenne Shelton-Mills are all charged with felony child abuse.

44-year-old Traci Hutson faces failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault against a minor, both are misdemeanors.

Kately Johnson’s two-year-old son Pierce is seen in the video being chased and picked up by the worker wearing the mask. Johnson hasn’t filed any charges yet but wants to see the former workers held accountable for their actions.

“I hope there is justice for the children,  that at the end of this all the women involved are brought to light the damage they’ve done and trauma to families, parents, and children,” Johnson said.

Johnson says her son is still feeling the effects of the incident.

“He has reactions to the specific mask she used and we have had a few nights where it’s hard for him to go to bed, or he wakes up, it’s not anything that positive reinforcement can’t help him through,” Johnson said.

After each of the former employees is arrested, they will be brought to Monroe County Detention Facility. Bond will be set and their cases will go to the next Grand Jury.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is also investigating. The daycare hasn’t opened since the video came to light.

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