A state regulating agency is investigating a Port Wentworth home daycare after police found a 2-year-old girl playing in the street.
Police say the girl was missing for more than an hour, but daycare workers never knew she was gone.
It happened in the Newport subdivision Tuesday. A neighbor, 20-year-old Brianna Brown, was walking home from the park with her niece and says she spotted the girl giggling alone in the middle of the street.
"She was soaking wet, and her diaper was full," Brown said.
It hadn't been raining. Police believe the girl went swimming in a retention pond behind the daycare. A WTOC crew filmed an alligator in that pond Wednesday afternoon.
Daycare owner Shauna Rice and her employee, Edma Herrington, have been charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and contributing to the depravation of a minor.
Rice would not comment for this story.
The daycare, Animated Kids, was licensed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning to care for three to six children. Police say they found 12 children in the home Tuesday.
The department is expected to issue a decision Thursday on whether the daycare can remain open. Its license had not been pulled as of Wednesday night.
Police say the daycare had black electrical tape over light sockets instead of safety plugs.
Priscilla Todd has been bringing her 5-year-old son to Animated Kids for the past six months. She stopped by the daycare Wednesday to offer Rice support.
"I pick him up every day," Todd said. "I pop up. I drop in. I've had no problems with her. I've never seen anything out of order. So, he'll definitely be going back."
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