Four workers at an overcrowded Illinois daycare were arrested after investigators from the Department of Children and Family Services discovered 15 children locked in a shed.
DCFS said it received a tip that an in-home daycare facility in Decatur was taking in too many children.
"I know there's a lot of children over there," neighbor Fred Fyke told WAND-TV. "I just wondered if they had a permit."
Investigators visited the daycare on Monday but were told it was closed. A few hours later, a relative allegedly arrived to pick up her niece and nephew, which led to the discovery of 15 children locked in a shed in the backyard. Police suspect the children were locked up in order to hide them from child welfare workers.
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"Based on the facts that were presented to us at the time and during our follow up investigation that we felt that criminal charges were warranted," said Lt. Jonathan Butts of the Macon County Sheriff's Department.
Four people were arrested, including the owner Marianne Mourning, her children Molli and Myles, and her assistant Jennifer Voekler.
They were charged with 15 counts of endangering the life of a child and 15 counts of unlawful restraint.
"Endangering the life and health of a child is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable of up to 364 days in the county jail," said Butts. "The Class 4 felony is the least felony, punishable for up to one to three years in the Department of Corrections."
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The Macon County Sheriff’s Office is notifying all parents who used the facility as the investigation is ongoing.
Neighbors were shocked to learn the truth about the daycare.
"This is all news to me really," said Fyke. "I mean surprise that she would lock kids in a shed ... oh my god."
Mourning is being held on $10,000 bond while the three others were released on $500 bail.
The four suspects appeared in court Wednesday. They are due back in court on July 11.