Carla Faith, a Colorado daycare owner, was sentenced to six years in prison after she was found with 26 children in her basement in 2019.
According to police reports, she was only licensed to care for up to six children, but kept taking more throughout the day as she hid them her basement with two other adult employees.
Authorities received tips that her Mountain Play Place daycare was holding more children than she was allowed and arrived to find over two dozen children in her basement, 12 of which under the age of 2. According to ABC News, Carla Faith was only allowed for two of her six kids to be under the age of 2, let alone 12.
When police arrived at the Colorado daycare, Carla Faith told them that there weren’t any children there at all, but authorities said they heard voices and children’s music. Faith also told the cops that she did not have a basement. Police reports described a false wall that the basement stairs was hidden behind, revealing 25 children. Records showed that one of the 26 children was already picked up before they arrived.
Valerie Fresquez, one of Faith’s employees, accepted a plea deal and testified at the trial. She corroborated the events and confirmed that Carla Faith had kept 26 children in her basement in Nov. 2019.
During the trial, prosecutors said that some of the children suffered from anxiety, sleeping problems, and trauma. An affidavit revealed that they had soiled diapers, were thirsty, and were crying.
Parents of the children were reportedly in attendance at the trial, where they shared stories of how the experience greatly affected their children.
“We sleep with the lights on in our house,” said Kim Marshall, who had both of her children under Carla Faith’s care. “My kids are anxious. They are fearful of the world.”
According to Carla Faith’s lawyer, Josh Tolini, the Colorado daycare owner had a problem saying “no” to parents who came to the door, and the situation just “snowballed.”
Carla Faith made some “incredibly poor decisions about how to do this,” her lawyer said.
The local KKTV Colorado news outlet reported that Carla received a sentence of six years in prison on Thursday, while her employees Christina Swauger and Valerie Fresquez–who testified in court–will have their charges dropped if they meet “unspecified” requirements.
Carla Faith was charged with 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse and attempting to influence a public servant. She was found guilty of all counts.
Howard Black, a spokesperson for the Colorado District Attorney’s Office, said that another former daycare employee failed to show-up in court and there is currently an arrest warrant out for them. The former employee was not identified.
“What happened here today was that we were able to achieve justice,” said District Attorney Michael Allen. “Justice on behalf of every single one of these parents that we have behind me today, parents that had to live through something that they never would’ve imagined.”
“Having the kids locked in the basement at a place that they were taking their kids to for care… Some place they trusted and felt like they were getting the care that they were expecting to achieve,” District Attorney Allen continued. “These kids were put into danger and every single one of these families has been impacted greatly by what happened in this case.”
“I think it’s just something that we should be thankful for,” he concluded. “That this jury felt strongly enough about the evidence and came back with a pretty fast verdict and found both defendants guilty of all charges.”