A Colorado daycare was immediately shut down this week after police found 26 children under the age of 3 in a basement, behind a fake wall. According to May 2019 data on the Colorado Department of Human Services website, Play Mountain Place had a licensed capacity of six children. Authorities believe the false wall was intended to conceal the fact that the center had too many children in its care.
The state Department of Human Services received a complaint Wednesday about overcrowding and enlisted police assistance in carrying out a welfare check, the department said in a statement. Officers went to the Colorado Springs school and found the children along with two adults behind the false wall. Officers immediately began working with DHS to release the children back to their parents,” the police department said.
Police reportedly didn’t find any children on the property when they first arrived at the daycare, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a statement. The owner Carla Faith, who lives on the property, “refused to cooperate” with the officers, police said. But children could be heard inside her home, and while investigating, they found the false wall leading to the basement.
Three daycare workers were initially arrested for “misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect,” but detectives canceled the charges “pending further investigation.” Faith was not arrested at the scene, police said, “as detectives pursue appropriate charges.”
“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.”