Multiple arrests following Colorado Springs daycare raid with a 'false wall'
The operator of the
has been arrested and will make her first appearance in a courtroom early next year, according to court documents.
On Thursday, authorities announced multiple arrests in the case where investigators found children behind a "false wall":
-Carla Faith was arrested on suspicion of two counts of reckless child abuse without injury and a single count of trying to influence a public servant.
-Christina Swauger was charged with attempt to influence a public servant along with misdemeanor child abuse. She also received a ticket for smoking/possession of marijuana while acting as a caregiver in a childcare facility.
-Katelynn Nelson is facing charges as unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance as well as misdemeanor child abuse.
-Valerie Fresquez was charged with misdemeanor child abuse. A mugshot of Fresquez was not provided because she is only facing a misdemeanor charge.
Faith, 58, was arrested Monday and bonded out the following day, a spokesperson with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirms. Faith's bond was set at $3,000. She bonded out the same day. Nelson and Swauger also bonded out.
11 News obtained the arrest papers for the women. They go into detail of the alleged crimes stating when officers found the children, they were not being treated well.
Court documents say when officers searched the home they found a pile of backpacks in a closet. When they asked Faith about the backpacks, she told them she had volunteered for a soccer team and was cleaning the backpacks for them.
Arrest papers go on to say that as officers continued to search the home, one bumped into a "false wall." After uncovering the false wall that led to the basement, officers note they found 26 children all under the age of three in the basement. They say when they examined the children they noticed most of the kids were sweating, visibly dehydrated, and had wet or soiled diapers.
As officers continued their search, they say they searched a backpack belonging to one of the employees, Katelynn Nelson. Court documents say police found meth and needles in the backpack.
When the investigation into the four daycares began, CSPD originally detained the four women, but let them go that same day.
It's been six weeks since that investigation started. CSPD spokesperson Lt. Jim Sokolik told 11 News they wanted to further their investigation into the women. He says prolonging the investigation allowed them to charge the woman with the appropriate charges and allow them to be held accountable for the full range of their actions.
As 11 News previously reported, Faith drew the attention of both police and Colorado Department of Human Services after multiple complaints emerged that her facility Play Mountain Place on 838 Willamette Ave. was housing more children than permitted.
When Springs police officers arrived at the daycare facility on Nov. 13, there were no children in plain sight.
"The owner, identified as 58-year-old Carla Faith, refused to cooperate with officers; however, officers could hear the noises of children coming from her home," Lt. James Sokolik with the Colorado Springs Police Department said at the time. "During their investigation, officers found a false wall that led to the home’s basement. When officers walked down the stairs, they located two adults and 26 kids inside a finished basement, all of who were under the age of 3 years old. Officers immediately began working with [The Colorado Department of Human Services] to release the children back to their parents."
One day later, parents were told to pick up their children at Counterpoint School on 610 E. Willamette Ave., as the preschool's license had been suspended. That preschool is also owned and operated by Faith, according to records.
Colorado's Department of Human Services also shut down in-home daycares on 1319 Franklin St. and 814 Willamette Ave.
Parents of 19 of the children found hidden inside Play Mountain Place have filed a lawsuit against Faith for negligence, our news partners The Gazette
Faith has faced similar allegations before; California state records show Faith was under investigation in the late 90s for operating unlicensed child care centers. In the early 90s, the LA Times reports Faith was placed on five years' probation for taking more children than legally allowed on a field trip -- a trip parents were never notified about.
Related StoriesDocuments of previous violations tied to Colorado Springs day care owner with a 'false wall' in her home released
Colorado Springs preschool shut down after state suspends license, workers feel blindsided
DHS shuts down 2 more in-home day cares related to ongoing investigation in Colorado Springs
Parents file lawsuit claiming Colorado Springs day care owner was negligent