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Daycare Owner Sentenced After Keeping 26 Kids Hidden Behind False Wall In The Basement

Daycare Owner Sentenced After Keeping 26 Kids Hidden Behind False Wall In The Basement
KOAA 5/YouTube

A Colorado Springs daycare owner was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of hiding more than two dozen children behind a false wall leading to her basement.

Carla Faith was licensed through the Department of Human Services (DHS) but was only allowed to care for six children at a time at her Mountain Play Place private daycare.

Only two of them were allowed to be under two years of age according to the terms of her license.

But in November 2019, law enforcement—responding to a tip submitted to DHS alleging Faith was caring for too many children—discovered she had 25 children locked in her basement.

Twelve of them were under the age of 2.

You can watch a news report here.

On Thursday—after hearing from the parents of the victims their children suffered from sleep issues and anxiety from their trauma—a judge issued Faith a six-year prison sentence for attempting to influence a public servant and concurrent ten-month sentences for 26 counts of child abuse.

Many on Twitter found her punishment to be insufficient.

KRDO-TV reported there were two adult supervisors at the in-home daycare. One of them, Valerie Fresquez, accepted a plea deal and testified at Faith's trial.

Christina Swauger, another employee at Play Mountain Place, told an officer she was not employed by Faith and was a friend.

Swauger's deception led to her being found guilty of attempting to influence a public servant and obstructing a peace officer.

She was also found guilty on 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

Faith repeatedly told an investigating police officer there were no children inside her home and there was no basement.

When she asked the officers if they had a search warrant, they told her one was not needed since they were doing a welfare check and the health and safety of children was in question.

Another officer discovered the fake wall and moved it to reveal the spiral staircase leading to the basement Faith denied having.

According to the arrest affidavit, many of the children found hidden in the basement had wet or soiled diapers and were sweaty and thirsty.

Kim Marshall, one of the parents of the victims, said both of her children continue to need counseling.

Said, Marshall:

"We sleep with the lights on in our house. My kids are anxious. They are fearful of the world."

Faith's lawyer, Josh Tolini, said his client had a difficult time saying "no" to parents insisting on having their children placed under her care and the situation "snowballed."

Tolini added Faith made some "incredibly poor decisions about how to do this."