A 20-year-old Livermore, California, babysitter was charged with felony child abuse after trying to smother a baby who wouldn’t stop crying.
The parents of the child caught Moriah Gonzales smothering their 13-month-old son after reviewing their hidden nanny camera. Gonzales was trying to calm the crying baby when she placed her hands close to the baby’s face — his cries went from audible to muffled.
The baby started to writhe and kick before going limp. Once Gonzales moved her hands away, he began crying again. Then Gonzales put the baby in his crib and left the room.
According to the police report, two mothers, identified as Amanda and Nicole, called Livermore Police Department on Feb. 18 to report that their 13-month-old son had been abused and the deed was recorded on a secret camera in their baby’s room.
Nicole found the video of Gonzales and her baby when she came home around 3 p.m. on Feb. 18, reported KGO. She asked Gonzales to leave and did not inform her about the footage.
When police questioned Gonzales about the incident the next day, she told them a story that was different from the footage and denied hurting the baby.
Neighbors describe Gonzales as smiling and bubbly.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw her picture that she would actually do something like that," said neighbor Jeremy Van Hoose.
Gonzales, who was hired through the popular nanny website Care.com, was arrested on Feb. 19 and has plead not guilty. She was detained at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, ahead of her arraignment and has been ordered to stay away from children.
Care.com released a statement after the incident, saying, “We are deeply troubled by this incident and our thoughts are with the family.”
Spokeswoman for the site, Nancy Bushkin, advised families to purchase background checks through their company before choosing a nanny from the site.
Bushkin told KRON 4: “We recommend that families purchase a background check once they have narrowed down their candidates to their top choice but they can be purchased at any time in the process.”
Care.com has removed Gonzales from their website and is coordinating with authorities to identify other potential victims.