COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs woman and former daycare owner has been charged with child abuse as a misdemeanor and attempt to influence a public servant, a class four felony, according to an affidavit obtained by KRDO Tuesday.
The suspect, 58-year-old Carla Faith, was the owner of a licensed daycare called Play Mountain Place. That changed last month when a Colorado Springs police officer found dozens of children hidden behind a panel leading to the basement of Faith’s home.
On Nov. 13, CSPD Officer Janel Langdon-Isaac was dispatched to the daycare to help the Department of Human Services in a welfare check, according to the affidavit. DHS was conducting a welfare check because they had received some concerns that the daycare provider may be housing more children than allowed and “was possibly hiding children in the home,” the affidavit says.
At the property, Faith escorted Langdon-Isaac into the cottage daycare facility, which is a secondary building set back from Faith’s main residence. Faith told the officer several times that she did not have any other children in the daycare, and gave the officer verbal consent to check for other children, the affidavit says.
Langdon-Isaac searched the cottage daycare facility but found no children. Faith then allowed Langdon-Isaac to search the main house.
While checking the main house, Langdon-Isaac found a stack of children’s backpacks hidden in a closet. Faith said that she was volunteering to clean the backpacks for the soccer team, and again denied that there were any children in the house.
It was then that the officer heard children’s music coming from the basement, and saw a low window from the outside of the home, indicating a basement level. Langdon-Isaac asked Faith how to access the basement, but Faith told her that the home didn’t have one.
At that point, Officer Jordan Parker arrived on scene to assist Langdon-Isaac in her search.
While searching, Parker bumped into a wall and felt it move. He pushed against the wall, saw it move, and heart it knock against a second wall behind it. He saw two parallel scrape marks on the floor leading away from the wall. Parker pulled the false wall to the right and found a stairwell leading to a finished basement area.
In the basement, officers found 26 children and two adults. According to the affidavit, the children were all aged between one and two years old. The adults — whose identities have not been released –were aged 24 and 31.
According to the affidavit, Faith’s daycare license was only good to care for up to six children between the ages of zero and 13 at any one time, meaning that her facility was over four-times the legal capacity. Additionally, she was only allowed to care for two children under the age of two at any one time.
Langdon-Isaac observed that many of the children “had soiled or wet diapers, were sweating, and were very thirsty upon contact,” according to the affidavit.
Inside the basement there were three rooms — a children’s playroom, a kitchen area and diaper-changing area with pack-n-plays and cubbies.
The parents of the children were contacted and all parents told police that they had no idea that their children were being cared for in the basement of the residence. They also stated that they had no idea that Faith had been caring for that many children at once, the affidavit says.