Hickory daycare worker charged after toddler put in bathroom for hours, police say

Hickory daycare worker charged after toddler put in bathroom for hours, police say

HICKORY, N.C. — A Hickory daycare worker has been fired and charged with child abuse after police learned a 3-year-old was put in a dark bathroom for hours.

In the video, you can see the daycare worker walk over to the toddler during nap time and carry him to the bathroom while stepping over another child and bumping into chairs along the way.

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As the video progresses, she places the child on the floor and then kicks a cot out of the way as she opens the door before sliding him into the dark bathroom.

The child's father Craig Covington said he still does not know why the worker shut the door and left his son in the bathroom for hours.

"They let it go on for more than three hours and didn't tell us until three days later that it happened," Covington said.

The director of the daycare Pam Ussery said they did not learn about the incident until another employee reported it on Monday. Ussery said they immediately placed worker Lynette West on probation.

Police said after watching more than an hour of the video, they charged West with child abuse.

"Thank God for those cameras," Ussery said. "It broke my heart. We watched it together and we were very emotional."

The daycare said it immediately notified the State Division of Child Development. They said they also alerted other parents about what happened, explaining their policy never allows an employee to discipline a child by leaving them in a bathroom.

Officials said more than 100 children attend Children's Academy.

Covington said his son will not be going back to the daycare.

"You can see my son literally pushing his hands, trying to get out of the bathroom within the three hours, trying to get out and the woman was keeping him from getting out, slamming the door back shut," Covington said. "I just want to know why. Why would someone do something like that."

The deputy police chief told Channel 9 two detectives are working alongside state investigators from DHHS on the case.