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Police: Ohio day-care operator drugged pancakes to make children sleep

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 7:09 AM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tammy Eppley says she is mortified by the charges
  • She says any text she sent about sedating a child was just her venting
  • She has been charged with six counts of child endangerment
  • None of the children were injured or made ill

(CNN) -- Getting children to take a nap can be hard. Getting them to eat pancakes is not nearly as difficult.

Police in Westerville, Ohio, say a 37-year-old mother operating a day care out of her home hit upon a plan -- she allegedly crushed medications that cause drowsiness and put them in the pancakes.

Tammy Eppley has been charged with six counts of child endangerment. Her first court date is July 12.

Eppley, who runs the Caterpillar Clubhouse, cared for six children -- including one of her own -- between the ages of 2 and 5, police said.

"This is mortifying. I'm a very private person and I'm very protective of my children and the children in my care," she said.

Investigators believe she used medications such as the allergy medicine Benadryl and supplements like melatonin to get the children to go to sleep, according to a statement from the Westerville Police.

She would say something to the effect of "I just gave them their nappy time medicine," Lt. Paul Scowden told CNN affiliate WCMH.

None of the children suffered any illness or injury related to the alleged drugging incident.

A former friend reported her to child protective services after she received a series of text messages from Eppley joking about sedating the kids.

Eppley has denied the charges, claiming she was just venting in the texts.

"It was just any frustrated parent that would say when they were frustrated," she said. "The kids are driving me crazy today, they're off the wall. I wish there was a drug like in sleeping beauty they would all just go to sleep."

She said she had given medications in the past, but only with parental permission.

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