Five former workers at a day care center in Hamilton, Mississippi, were charged after a video surfaced appearing to show four of them taunting terrified children while wearing a mask similar to the one seen in the "Scream" film franchise.
Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman and Shyenne Mills were each charged with three counts of felony child abuse, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Thursday. All four are in their 20s. Traci Hutson was charged with failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault
All five were arrested Wednesday and booked into Monroe County Jail, the sheriff's office said. The four charged with felonies made their initial court appearances Thursday morning and bond was set at $20,000 for McCandless and Kilburn and $15,000 for Newman and Mills, according to the sheriff's office.
The charges were filed after video was posted online appearing to show the former day care workers sneaking up and scaring kids at the Lil' Blessings Childcare and Learning Center. The day care workers were captured donning a mask and going up to different children and screaming in their faces as they cried and even hid out of fear.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
"As a dad and as someone who has great compassion for those who can't defend themselves, I admit it was very hard to watch these videos today; and my initial reaction was the same as most anyone else I would think...'they deserve to be charged,'" Sheriff Kevin Crook said in a statement on October 6, after the video had been posted.
But, he noted, "Our Investigators do not bring charges based solely on our watching of a video, and we don't encourage others to run down to Justice Court and start filing away. We need time to dig into a situation and find out what the real facts of the case are... all of them."
"It made me sick at my stomach to think of the terror those kids were enduring. It still does," he added.
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