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Day care owner, 3 employees accused of sprinkling melatonin on children’s food


By Ross Ketschke

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    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (WMUR) — The owner of a Manchester day care and three employees are facing criminal charges for child endangerment after a monthslong police investigation.

Police say the owner and three staff members at the home day care center on Amory Street were sprinkling melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid, on children’s lunches.

All four are each facing 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police said the day care was being run by Sally Dreckmann, 52. The employees also facing those charges have been identified as Traci Innie, 51, Kaitlin Filardo, 23, and Jessica Foster, 23.

Police said it was an unlicensed day care, which is allowed under New Hampshire state law in some circumstances.

Police said they were first tipped off late last year that children were being given melatonin without parents’ knowledge or consent. The tip came from someone who had been inside the day care.

Police said they also got several other tips throughout their investigation. All four suspects turned themselves in to police on Thursday.

“This is something that is an over-the-counter drug that is usually used as a sleep aid that was given to these children with no knowledge of the parents and no consent. So, obviously, that’s concerning. They don’t know how these children may react to it. They don’t know if they have an allergic reaction or even worse,” Heather Hamel, spokesperson for the Manchester Police Department, said.

Neighbors in the area said they had no idea the home was being used as a day care.

“I didn’t even know,” Gwyneth Clarkson, a Manchester resident, said. “I knew the people next door, but I didn’t even know there were kids at that house or that they were running a day care.”

Autumn Londo’s boyfriend lives next door. She says if she were one of the mothers whose child was fed melatonin, she would be very concerned.

“I think it’s crazy,” Londo said. “Like, why would you do that? I would not be OK with that if I was a mother.”

Police said none of the children needed medical attention.

All four suspects were released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court next month.

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