January Irene Neatherlin of Bend, Oregon was sentenced to 21 years and four months in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault. Neatherlin was caught drugging children at her day care facility so she could make trips to the tanning salon and the gym.
32-year-old January Neatherlin was arrested on March 15 after police were tipped off by a former boyfriend and former roommate that she was leaving children under her care at the Little Giggles daycare unattended for hours at a time during the day. On the day of her arrest, police witnessed January take a trip to a tanning salon. While she was gone, police discovered seven children between the ages of 6 months and four years left unattended at the day care facility. All of the children had signs of melatonin in their systems.
After further investigation, police found that January had a consistent history of leaving the day care facility early in the afternoon, during a three-hour window in which parents were told they could not pick up their children. They also discovered that January had lied to some of the parents by claiming to be a nurse.
In addition to the abandonment, police uncovered other instances of neglect and even assault uncovered after arresting January. From The Bulletin:
On Jan. 21, 2014, an 11-month-old child was picked up from Little Giggles and rushed to St. Charles Bend, and eventually to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland with bleeding and swelling in her head. The head injuries were consistent with a baby being shaken or struck repeatedly, according to Adams, the child’s grandfather, and were the source of the third-degree assault charge…
…The other four criminal mistreatment charges are from previous incidents with children in Neatherlin’s care in 2013, 2015 and 2016. One of the parents during that period, Audrey Torrance, said Neatherlin heated a bottle of milk in the microwave, which left her daughter with blisters on her mouth and shoulders. Torrance said Neatherlin at the time called the injuries spider bites when pressed about it.
January (photo above) was originally facing 76 counts of criminal mistreatment in the first degree and 38 counts of recklessly endangering another person. But, as part of the deal for pleading guilty, most of those charges were dropped.
At her sentencing, January spoke to the judge and families of the children in her care. “I loved all my day care kids as my own, and I believe they loved me and enjoyed hanging out with me during the week,” she said tearfully. “But I failed you all. I let you all down.”
Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby was not moved by January’s statement. “There is something broken and something missing in you,” he told her. “It is sheer serendipity and chance that some of those kids were not killed.”
January also had some other run-ins with the law before this arrest. From Oregon Live:
Neatherlin’s rap sheet dates back to 2007, when she was charged with multiple instances of theft and identity theft. Court documents filed by the state describe her as having an “on-going, systematic scheme of doing what she wanted and getting what she wanted, without any concern for the danger she was placing others in.”
Amazingly, January’s misdeeds reportedly didn’t stop in March either. “Since her arrest last March, Neatherlin had approached other inmates and asked them to claim they had worked for her,” according to the sentencing report obtained by Oregon Live. “She also wrote letters to former inmates asking for bail money and promised to pay them from offshore accounts worth ‘a lot of money.'”