LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Probable cause was found by a district court judge in all four daycare workers facing charges in connection to the alleged physical harm of toddlers.
The cases of Jazzmine Webb, Samantha Ayers, Maurisa Sweat, and Terri Smallwood are all being sent to a grand jury.
It all started after one family noticed bruising on their child. Since then, the Lexington Police Department arrested Ayers, Sweat, and Webb and charged them with Criminal Abuse in the 1st degree.
A fourth woman, Terri Smallwood, was arrested for Criminal Abuse (2nd degree) and Failure to Report Known Abuse.
Police say Ayers, Sweat, and Webb were teachers in the 1-year-olds classroom at the Eagle Creek Learning Academy / Kids R Kids childcare center in Lexington, and Smallwood was the center director. An investigation was launched earlier this month by Lexington Police and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services after a family noticed bruising on their child.
The investigation found evidence of multiple instances of daycare staff treating children in a physical and unsafe manner.
The suspects are housed in the Fayette County Detention Center.
In a statement, the Eagle Creek Learning Academy says all the teachers in the classroom and the director were fired shortly after learning about the incident on January 7.
"Our #1 priority is the safety of the children in our care," the statement reads. "Although it is difficult to prevent the criminal actions of an employee with malicious intent at the time of the action, we can and have and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the perpetrators receive justice."
Read the full statement below: