Church nanny fired, charged after children were given sleeping pills

CUMBERLAND, Indiana (WXIN) — Paul Caudill noticed behavioral changes in his 3-year-old daughter around the holiday season.

“She would have random emotional outbursts and it was always close to bedtime,” Caudill said. “She wouldn’t eat. She complained of a headache.”

Caudill said his wife was ready to take the toddler for medical tests when Pastor David Faulk of New Life Church in Cumberland, Indiana, pulled him aside on February 1 as he was taking his daughter to daycare for her birthday.

“He pulled me into his office and explained that one of the employees had given my daughter melatonin,” Caudill said. “I was like, ‘So you mean someone drugged my daughter?’ He said, “Yes, well, we have been made aware that one of our staff has been administering melatonin to a number of children for the past sixty days.”

“A lot of trouble came in towards the end, but I was in a church with a pastor.”

Tonya Rachelle Voris, 52, was fired as chief executive of Kidz Life’s childcare department at the end of January and now faces charges of neglect of a loved one and reckless surveillance charges on misdemeanor charges.

In a probable cause affidavit, Cumberland Police said they interviewed most of the parents of the 17 children believed to have been treated with the over-the-counter sleeping pill by the pastor.

Many of those parents told investigators their children also experienced side effects from the unauthorized doses.

According to the affidavit, police determined that “Voris dispensed the melatonin gummies to put several children to sleep, for her personal benefit by not having to deal with fussy or problem children who do not sleep during their nap.” which several employees referred to as their break.”

Faulk said Voris admitted giving the drugs to the children, one of whom was just 1 year old, but she refused to speak to investigators.

“This parental instinct kicked in and said, ‘Man, this is where I’m dropping my daughter off. Here we expect her to be safe,'” Caudill said. “Because this is a church organization, you shouldn’t have to worry about my daughter being safe in this facility.”

Caudill said after detoxing his daughter, “This spunky, sassy little toddler is back, not the little zombie I used to pick up.”

Caudill said he was looking for a new daycare for his daughter.

As of late Sunday afternoon, Voris was still not in the custody of the Hancock County Sheriff.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps control the body’s sleep cycle.

Melatonin supplements, most of which are synthetic, have been given to children to treat some sleep problems. However, the center said, “Because there aren’t many studies on children and melatonin supplements, there’s a lot we don’t know about the use of melatonin in children.”

The center added: “For melatonin supplements, particularly at doses higher than what the body normally produces, there is not yet enough information on possible side effects to have a clear picture of the overall safety.” Church nanny fired, charged after children were given sleeping pills

Dais Johnston

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