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New Hampshire day care owner, 3 employees accused of spiking kids' food with melatonin

Employees at unlicensed day care in NH accused of lacing children's food with melatonin
Employees at unlicensed day care in NH accused of lacing children's food with melatonin 02:16

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A day care owner in Manchester, New Hampshire and three of her employees are facing charges after police said they spiked children's food with melatonin.

Accused of lacing food with melatonin

It happened back in November at an in-home day care on Armory Street. Police said they received a complaint of unsafe practices at the day care. While investigating, police said they learned that the children's food was being sprinkled with melatonin.

The children's parents had no idea it had happened.

Sally Dreckmann, 52, the owner of the day care, was arrested, along with employees 51-year-old Traci Innie, 23-year-old Kaitlin Filardo and 23-year-old Jessica Foster. All four have been charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Several concerned neighbors said they had no idea a day care was running in the neighborhood.

"I'm a grandparent so I know. That's outrageous, it really is," said Gary Boucher. "If it was my child, I'd be extremely upset."

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is an over-the-counter drug that is often used to help people sleep. But a recent CDC study said the number of children who've accidentally taken adult melatonin and ended up in the emergency room has quadrupled in the past decade.

Health officials said 7% of emergency room visits were due to kids accidentally eating melatonin. Some pediatricians have warned about using melatonin on kids because the product is unregulated.

"It is not safe," said Dr. Cora Breuner of Seattle Children's Hospital. "There's no guarantee that the product itself is not contaminated with another substance."

Day care not licensed

Police said the day care was not licensed. However, that is legal in New Hampshire as long as you do not care for more than three children at a time. No one answered the door when WBZ TV knocked.

"If the police are officially charging them, the state or city should be shutting them down right off the bat till they clear them," said Boucher.

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