A Colorado day care used a “false wall” to hide 26 children under the age of 3 in a basement, police said, concealing the fact it had too many children in its care.
Officers went to Play Mountain Place in Colorado Springs Wednesday after complaints about overcrowding there when they found the children along with two adults behind the false wall. The day care had a licensed capacity of six children, according to May 2019 data on the Colorado Department of Human Services website.
The department immediately suspended the day care’s license while it investigates, the agency said in a statement.
Police didn’t immediately find any children when they first arrived at the day care, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a statement. They contacted owner Carla Faith, who lives on the property, and she “refused to cooperate” with the officers, police said.
But police could hear children in her home, and while investigating, they found a false wall leading to the basement.
“Officers immediately began working with DHS to release the children back to their parents,” the police department said.
The state Department of Human Services received the complaint Wednesday and enlisted police help in carrying out the welfare check, the department said in a statement.
Three day care workers were initially arrested for “misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect,” police said, but detectives canceled the charges “pending further investigation.”
“I’m really hoping nothing more nefarious has been going on and that in fact, it is an overcrowding issue which is bad enough as it is,” a parent told CNN affiliate KKTV. “Miss Carla seems like such a nice person and she’s always been so accommodating and perhaps she has a hard time saying no. I don’t know, I’m just going to have to chalk it up to that.”
Faith was not arrested at the scene, police said, “as detectives pursue appropriate charges.”