Colorado woman convicted of keeping 26 children behind in a false wall at ‘puppy mill for toddlers’

Police discovered the children during a welfare check

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 22 October 2021 20:35
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A Colorado woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for child abuse, after police discovered her keeping 26 children behind a false wall near her basement in an unlicensed daycare facility.

Police discovered the children, many of whom had soiled or wet diapers and were in distress, during a November 2019 welfare check, according to court documents. Carla Faith, who operated the Faith’s Play Mountain Place daycare, has been convicted of one felony, for telling officers she wasn’t caring for children, and 26 charges of misdemeanor child abuse, as well as operating a child care facility with more children than she was licensed to care for.

Faith first told officers she wasn’t caring for any children, according to body camera footage, but police were able to hear children’s music and what sounded like kids crying inside the Victorian home where they were being kept, prompting a search.

Another employee of Faith’s, Christina Swauger, has also been convicted on similar charges, but hasn’t been sentenced. Authorities have shut down three daycares associated with the women.

“It’s going to take help, for our kids especially, to move on after the trauma that they’ve gone through,” Vanessa Nagel, one of the parents of the children being held in the home, said in August, when Faith was first convicted.

“This case just speaks to somebody that wanted to put profits over children and safety of children,” District Attorney Michael Allen added. “And the jury was strong and the judge was very strong in saying that’s not how we operate in Colorado Springs, and that’s a relief.”

Prior to the arrests, Faith was reportedly well regarded in the area as a childcare provider.

“Even our paediatrician, who’s well known in town, recommended her,” Kayla Shaw told Fox 21. “When I told her that’s where we were going to be she said, ‘oh, that’s great, we love her!’”

“Hindsight I’m like, God why didn’t I question more?” Sherry MacWilliam told the network. “A puppy mill for toddlers is what she was running.”